Action 7: Create innovative solutions to support future skills development

Over the next three years, we will:

  • Partner with the TAFE Network to co-lead innovative approaches to identify new skills and new models for skills development and delivery.
  • Lead work to identify the digital skills needed across occupations – horizontal digital skills.
  • As a priority commence work on innovative approaches to step up to Victoria’s digital skills challenges.

The industries and jobs of today will not necessarily be the same tomorrow, as innovation and disruption lead to new products, services and changes to work and lifestyles. New occupations are emerging and, in many existing occupations, the skills required for success are changing.

The Macklin Review recommended establishing Skills Labs, a new methodology to bring together leading universities, TAFEs and other education and training providers, industry, unions and communities to co-design new approaches to skills development, informed by leading industry practices and technologies and aligned with industry policy.

This will empower stakeholders to collaborate to design new skills and new approaches to teaching and learning materials, to improve outcomes and account for new expectations of workers.

This could include:

  • A range of new qualifications that bring together relevant study across the TAFE and training and university sectors, industry knowledge, vendor training and international research, auspiced by the VSA with pathways suitable for both existing workers and new entrants.
  • New approaches to training delivery which see learners undertaking their studies across TAFE and training providers and universities, in industry and with major equipment suppliers using advanced digital and real-world approaches.
  • New industry approaches to skills development through new work-based learning approaches.

Innovative approaches will be driven by a shared commitment to a common good and co-design principles; they will use detailed data and knowledge sharing, discussion and participation to propose and test potential solutions. Skills Labs are one approach; there are a range of other collaborative approaches which will be considered to support future skills development.

The digital challenge

The tech sector contributed $167 billion to the Australian economy in 2020-21 and will continue to grow as more digital businesses start and others adopt digital tools to improve productivity.

COVID-19 has accelerated digitisation trends, resulting in high demand for digitally skilled workers. An estimated 87 per cent of Australian workers now require digital skills for their role.

The skilling challenge is threefold: digital foundations - skills which enable all workers to engage successfully with digital tools; digital applications - advanced skills in applying digital techniques in the process of work; and tech jobs – skills for the specialist occupations in the ICT industry itself. In the main these skills can be acquired in one setting but applied to many more – that is they are transferable. How they are organised for delivery as key future skills is an important area of investigation.

Case study

Digital literacy skills: a foundation for a great job and life

After 10 years in the corporate and banking sector, and time running her own yoga teaching business, Rebecca Smith moved into coordinating vocational training at the CAE.

This in turn led to developing pre-accredited courses for Kensington Neighbourhood House (KNH), where she has worked since 2014.

Rebecca introduced classes in digital literacy and English as an Additional Language that aligned course content with participants’ employment aspirations.

This included KNH’s first social media course and an English course centred on communication skills required for learners who were preparing to study a Certificate III in Childcare.

“We are teaching the sort of digital literacy that is needed to run your life. It’s foundational digital literacy,” she said.

“This year we have gone right back to basics because we found that during the pandemic we have had people with zero digital literacy and they need to be able to apply for jobs online, and upload photographs of documents to support their application.”

Rebecca also values industry and community engagement. Over the years, she has brokered partnerships with Gowrie Victoria, Linfox, and Service Stars Community Jobs Alliance to provide pre-accredited training linked directly to employment in different sectors.