The Future Works Summit - 2019 Highlights and Summit Video

The Future Works Summit – 2019 Highlights

Oct 11th, 2019

“Skillnet Ireland places itself at the forefront of workforce development, innovation and planning. The Future Works Summit furthers this mission and helps to ensure that Irish businesses are ready and able to equip themselves with the necessary tools and insights to manage disruptive workforce trends.”
Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive



We are currently seeing ways of working disrupted globally by technology and other forces to an extent never witnessed before, with the very nature of employment being fundamentally redefined. The Future Works – Skillnet Ireland’s National Summit was established with some key objectives in mind; to demystify the different buzz words and concepts surrounding this shift to a ‘future of work’, to highlight the dramatic impact disruptive technology is having on workforce development, and to provide our audience with real-world solutions that can be applied to their unique business challenges.

On the 26th of September, at the inaugural The Future Works Summit, together with our keynote speakers, expert industry panellists and an audience of 300+ business leaders and policymakers, we addressed the rapidly-advancing challenges that lie ahead and explored how we can best prepare our workforce for the future of work.

Under the two key themes of Future-proofing your workforce and Workforce development in a disruptive age, our two renowned keynote speakers took to the stage to share their experiences of helping organisations capitalise on emerging workforce trends and to explore the key factors shaping the future workforce.


Security for Workers in the 21st Century

Charles Leadbeater, Innovation Thought Leader, was the first keynote of the day. His presentation focused on future challenges around providing people with work and impacts on business and the economy, touching on large scale factors such as environment, demographics and technology.

The adage of having a 9-5 job for life is no longer standard practice. We will have different jobs over our lifetime and work in different ways than ever before. Charles highlighted how we will have more ‘gig’ and independent working, part time work, flexible and remote working. This type of work, however, does not create an identity, stability or job security.

future works summit - presentation by charles leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater, Innovation Thought Leader


A key take away for the audience was that everyone will need to need to continue to learn new skills. Computers will not take over, they will do the repetitive tasks, so it is particularly important that we develop innate human skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem solving.


Our audience took part in an online poll during Charles’s keynote, with the following results:

poll 1 for charles leadbeater


AI: Powering Change in Our Time

Our second keynote of the day was Technology Evangelist, Clare Dillon. Clare’s keynote focused on the effect of technological change. The world is changing. New technologies are helping to reshape how we work and live. This technology has the power to improve how we do our jobs and even enable scenarios and new markets we couldn’t contemplate before. But it turns out, the enabling technology is the easiest part of any digital transformation journey.

future works summit - presentation by clare dillon

Clare Dillon, Technology Evangelist


Clare discussed how building the culture and developing the capabilities to take advantage of these powerful new tools is the hardest challenge of all. Clare covered examples of AI-powered digital transformation, practical tips on how organisations can start their AI journey and the role new technologies can plays in helping employees best prepare themselves for this new world of work.


Our audience took part in an online poll curing Clare’s keynote, with the following results:


Panel Discussion: The Future of Work – Where to for Irish Businesses?

Our distinguished panel of industry representatives provided a lively discussion and delved into the themes showcased earlier in the day. The panel comprised of: Aiden O’Dwyer (DPS Engineering), Anne Rigney (Musgrave), Carmel Somers (IBM), Alison Comyn (MC), Christof Paulischta (Deloitte), Mark Jordan (Skillnet Ireland), and Ronan Emmett (Boston Scientific).

Expertly hosted by our event MC, Alison Comyn, the panel spent the course of the 60mins discussing how concepts around the future of work apply to the real world of business and the actions and strategies the panellists, and their respective organisations have successfully rolled out to adapt and evolve to new ways of working.

future works summit - industry panel discussion

L-R: Aiden O’Dwyer, Anne Rigney, Carmel Somers, Alison Comyn, Christof Paulischta, Mark Jordan, Ronan Emmett


The panel shared ideas on some of the major behavioural and transformational challenges facing Irish business, with an emphasis on trends, risk mitigation ideas, technology adoption, skills needs and cultural shifts. The panel also discussed and provided insight on how the future of work will create new role types and require differing skills. A key message from this session was the need for businesses to start to think about their own digital transformation journeys, and how global trends and cultural shifts will start to influence their long-term business strategies.


“I found it a really interesting day. I think it’s always insightful to hear of new case studies and insights into the transformative effects of AI. To see real-world impacts and hear from the experts in terms of how we are preparing as a nation, it’s really interesting.”
Una Fitzpatrick, Director, Technology Ireland


The Future Works Summit 2019 – Highlights Video


2019 Summit Sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors for their active contribution to The Future Works Summit 2019:
Diageo, Ibec, Rosderra Irish Meats, Chadwicks Group, Janssen, and VMware


Discover More

Visit The Future Works Summit website to discover more.

View the Summit photo gallery on our Facebook page.

To help future-proof your business, find your Skillnet Ireland Network and make sure to join us at The Future Works Summit 2020, as we further advance our understanding of the future of work, in an industry-led way.


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