NSW government looks to grow digital skills in those not going to university

There’s a skills shortage, but there isn’t enough of a focus on the 50% of students who don’t want to go to university, according to NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education.

The New South Wales government is looking for a different approach to ensuring the skills that are required for the future workforce are properly nurtured, focusing on students that don’t want to go to university to begin their career.

Speaking with ZDNet while at IBM Think in Sydney on Wednesday, NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said that currently, the opportunities for school-leavers are skewed and they aren’t favouring those that don’t move on to university.

“At the moment when you’re a student, our whole system seems to be skewed towards an ATAR and then progression into university, and that’s fine for 50% of the people, but we really need to have meaningful opportunities for the 50% that choose not to go to university,” he said.

“We need to give them opportunities to say, ‘Well I’d like to go into robotics. I’d like to go into AI, I’d like to go into blockchain, but I’d like to do it through a different mechanism’.”

An Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is number between 0.00 and 99.95 that indicates a student’s position relative to the students in their age group and is used for university admission.

“50% of students don’t go to university … for the students who choose the VET option, we must break down those barriers,” he said.

SEE: Special report: IT jobs in 2020: A leader’s guide (free PDF)

According to Lee, the best approach is real-world experience combined with education, be that through a traineeship-like corporate initiative or TAFE, as some examples.

“Different models of pathway programs — you’re not going to just find one pathway programs for all students, you need different pathways for different students because we have such a diversity of students out there,” he continued.

“As a government, we graduate and are responsible for the educations of hundreds of thousands of students … I think the challenge for us as a government and the challenge for industry is how do we actually grow the skill levels for those students not going to university.”

The difficulty, Lee said, is that many students are told that university is their only pathway.

“I think as a government, we must say that VET training is a viable option for a meaningful job and a meaningful career,” he said.

“In the not too distant future, the NSW government will have a strong and focused look on pathway programs. How better to engage high school students with the VET sector and the higher ed sector to provide a continuous pathway to the development of the individual, because as our world changes we need to adapt and reskill and allow people to upskill.”

Lee was at IBM’s local conference to thank Big Blue for expanding its Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) initiative in Australia.

P-TECH is touted by the company as a long-term partnership between industry, schools, and tertiary education providers that enables business to play an active role in the learning and career development of the future workforce.

Lee said it’s important for government to acknowledge and encourage initiatives like P-TECH that help to shrink the skills gap.

“As a government we can’t do it alone, so my focus will be on how do we engage industry better to actually deliver the programs — we’re not always the experts in the area and in fact, industry provides those expertise that I think is a great way to teach our students … whether it’s cybersecurity, automation, AI,” he continued.

“Industry, government, and the individual students need to work much closer together to deliver the skills that we need for the future.”

With a “tech-bro” culture in the workforce and a mentality that technology-related careers are for men only, the minister said what is needed to help counter that is role models for young women to look towards.

“It’s a cultural shift. There is a need to promote the wonderful role models and the very successful people, so people in school age, in their informative years [are able to see they] can be that person —  there is no ceiling to what I can do,” Lee told ZDNet. “So I think it is a whole shift, not only internally within the companies, but in terms of promoting the great work of some really successful role models.”


Tinkering at the edges but little reform for vocational sector

TAFE Directors Australia CEO Craig Robertson in Canberra.TAFE Directors Australia CEO Craig Robertson in Canberra.

The vocational sector will likely be subject to “tinkering at the edges” but enjoy little in the way of fundamental reform as the Morrison government moves ahead with elements of the Joyce review, which was released just before the election campaign began.

While two of the report’s 71 recommendations received funding in the April federal Budget, sector experts say there is a valid question as to how far the newly elected government will go with implementing the entirety of the report from former New Zealand education minister Steven Joyce.

“We are not clear whether the government has accepted all the recommendations or whether the budget announcements are the limit of what they intend to do,” said Craig Robertson, chief executive of TAFE Directors Australia.

One key recommendation is that the federal, state and territory governments “commit over time” to reducing the funding imbalances between qualification-based vocational education and higher education.

So far, the recommendations for a national skills commission and a national careers institute have received a prime ministerial thumbs up after the Joyce report was handed to Mr Morrison in March.

The skills commission is intended to co-ordinate approaches to the funding and resourcing of vocational education and training between federal and state governments. The careers institute, designed to be part of the skills commission, will provide better careers information to students.

Both initiatives have received mixed reactions from experts. The commission has been described as a ‘‘lite’’ version of the Australian National Skills Authority that was disbanded under the Howard government. It would need industry to come to the table to be effective, Mr Robertson said.

The careers institute might offer useful information but it will be using workforce planning and employment outlooks from the commission which have been historically proven to be “unreliable” and “invented to give astrology a good name”, according to Gavin Moodie, an adjunct professor of education at RMIT.

“(The predictions) will be as unreliable as every other central body’s employment projections,” Dr Moodie said.

However, there are serious questions about the government’s ability to deliver on its most prominent budget announcement — 80,000 new apprenticeships over four years via $8000 employer subsidies. Currently, apprenticeships make up just 20 per cent of vocational enrolments, with commencements at their lowest level since 1996.

“Even if we dramatically increase the number of apprenticeships, they will still be a minority of the system. The federal government needs a policy for all vocational education, not just apprenticeships,” said Leesa Wheelahan, the William G. Davis Chair in Community College Leadership at the University of Toronto.

Claire Field, a consultant to private vocational providers, said that in the past employer incentives had been more successful in driving traineeships than apprenticeships.

She said the predecessor Skilling Australians Fund had been criticised as being too narrowly focused on traditional apprenticeships while overlooking the fact that jobs growth was largely centred in services, such as aged and disability care.

Ms Field said that while she rated the Joyce review highly, there was little to suggest that private vocational providers would see any growth in domestic markets under the Morrison government and they would need to look to international students.

There are also questions about whether the Morrison government has any plans to revive the public TAFE sector which has been decimated in recent years by ad hoc, pro-market policies and rampant defunding.

“Unless the federal government recognises the value of TAFE as a key anchor institution of the communities they serve and funds it accordingly, public vocational education is in danger of being reduced to atomistic, just in time and just for now, narrow skills training,” said Professor Wheelahan. “This is exactly what Australia has done to its aged care system and to the job services network.”

John Pardy, an education expert from Monash University, said the Joyce review’s aim for national consistency would need to be built in ways that could balance competing industries and needs on local, state and national levels.

“The challenge in this pivot for consistency is that it does not descend into a series of piecemeal approaches longing for a coherent policy base.”

He said both the skills commission and careers institute might play a role in nationally co-ordinating policy and practice “however slight”.


China helps to build skills worldwide

Editor’s note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This is part of a series looking at significant developments in various fields as China increases its interaction with the world.

Thai student Kapak Waiyarith slowly lowered the toylike contraption on her palm into the cardboard maze, setting its sensor lights flashing and wheels in motion.

The whirring device – part of an international “micromouse” robotics competition – crashed into a partition of the labyrinth less than three seconds later, after moving just a fraction of the distance covered by Chinese competitors’ similar devices.

“It’s hard to keep up, but learning and improving from the experience is more important,” said Kapak, 24.

The student from Phranakhon Rajabhat University in Bangkok was among those taking part in the competition in North China’s Tianjin municipality last week, when participants raced miniature autonomous robots to map out and complete the maze.

The event at the Tianjin Bohai Vocational Technical College marked a high point in Kapak’s two months of artificial intelligence and robotics training in the city, where she acquired crucial skills to equip her for the global marketplace.

Kapak is among an increasing number of recipients worldwide of skills transfer under China’s Luban Workshop vocational education program.

The workshops are named after Chinese craftsman and inventor Lu Ban of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), who was revered as the embodiment of professional and technical excellence.

Since the launch of the first Luban Workshop overseas center three years ago at Ayutthaya Technical College in Thailand, the program, led by Tianjin municipal authorities under the guidance of the Ministry of Education, has spread to educational institutions in the East and West.

At least eight program workshops have been established in Asia, Africa and Europe, with skills training and certification involving more than 4,000 people in nearly 20 fields, including transportation, mechanics and new energy, according to Tianjin education authorities.

The workshops, whose topics range from electromechanical integration in Cambodia and photovoltaic applications in India to railway operations in East Africa’s Djibouti and culinary courses in Britain, also align with the Belt and Road Initiative’s focus on global cooperation in economic and social development, they said.

The training sessions adopt a practical, innovation-oriented approach to learning.

At an international forum at the Tianjin Vocational Institute on Friday, when attendants took stock of the program’s achievements against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Lyu Jingquan, deputy director of the Tianjin Education Commission, said the training sessions form a “Chinese brand of vocational education” offering the best of the country’s technical expertise.

“One of the main reasons behind the rapid development of the Chinese economy is its vocational education and training,” he said.

“On that basis, we will share our best qualities and results with the countries and our partners for shared progress.”

Jose Pedro Magalhaes Lucas, who is in charge of the Luban Workshop at the Polytechnic Institute of Setubal in Portugal, said, “The benefits of the program have been enormous”. Since late last year, the institute’s workshop students have been trained in areas such as electrical automation, advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence.

“Our teachers have also been given the opportunity to develop more research capabilities and access to equipment, helping to develop our supervision systems for industry. Then there is the interaction between students and teachers fromboth countries, fueling international and cultural experience,” said the engineering professor, who specializes in electronics and automation.

Portuguese student Hugo Frazao, 22, has participated twice in the workshop program in Tianjin, for about a week each time, and also has had opportunities to hone his automation and instrumentation skills through competitions.

“With this program, you can apply what you’ve learned through the laboratories and innovate. You can become very good at what you do. You communicate with each other, make improvements and it’s very good for our skills and the industry.”

Similarly, at Thailand’s Ayutthaya Technical College, those taking part in railway operations training have participated in skills competitions as part of their vocational education.

College Director Jarun Youbrum said Thai authorities “place a lot of emphasis on Luban Workshop cooperation and greatly value it”. Many exchanges have also been conducted under the program, with representatives from other countries observing and learning from the sessions, he said.

“Every year, we have on average more than 100 recipients of Chinese funding support for education, making it one of the largest and most significant educational sources of its kind for us and helping to raise the profile of our college,” Jarun said.

“Moving forward, we would like to focus on our own teaching competencies for our educators to better receive and learn Chinese capabilities,” he said.

“We need to use this China-Thailand cooperation platform to help Thai vocational education move toward internationalization.”

Luban Workshop organizers said the training will continue to cultivate technical talent to power growth in countries participating in Belt and Road infrastructure and development projects, with at least 14 more centers in the works worldwide.

Zoon Ahmed Khan, a Pakistani research fellow at the Belt and Road Strategy Institute of Tsinghua University, said vocational training is a key aspect of infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan. “Cooperation with Luban is significant. It’s not just timely, it’s very visionary. It’s a very successful model.”


Labor Pitches Skills And Digital Literacy Ahead Of Election

If elected on Saturday an Australian Labor Government will address Australia’s digital skills gap, establish centres of excellence for AI and blockchain, encourage more startup activity, and reform controversial encryption laws.

Each of the moves has been outlined by Shadow Minister for Human Services and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic, in the lead up to the federal election.

Today, Husic elaborated on several aspects of the Opposition’s digital strategy during an event in Sydney organised by InnovationAus and StartupAus. While Husic has become a regular at the town hall style gatherings LNP representatives have declined the group’s invitations, according to event organisers.

Skills Pitch

To address Australia’s digital skills gap Labor has pledged more vocational training for IT and more requirements that digital roles to be filled by local talent, with an emphasis on diversity.

Labor has promised 5,00 free Tafe places for IT and digital courses. Half of those places are reserved for women to address IT’s diversity problem. Today Husic revealed “where we can” the program would also target older workers transitioning to new roles in particular.

Husic said Labor would promote local talent in the digital economy but leave the door open for migrant workers to “ensure our skills are current”.

Shadow Minister for Human Services and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic speaking in Sydney. Supplied.

“We could fill every single vacancy here in Australia with a local and I’d still think there’s a role for skilled migration.

“From my point of view, if people are doing something smart somewhere else in the world and they want to come here or they’re needed here we should bring them here. Because we need to ensure that the knowledge base is continually replenished.”

Husic said Labor’s “smart visas” will mean foreigners with highly needed skills including digital can help bridge the deficit between local talent and industry requirements.

Businesses need to step up too, Husic argued, noting the practice of large corporations relying too heavily on 457 Visa holders for IT needed to stop.

Husic said a Labor Government would require large companies working on digital projects for government to ensure one in 10 of its involved employees are digital trainees or apprentices.

Labor’s shadow minister also reaffirmed the party’s commitment to reform the controversial encryption laws it helped pass late last year.

“This has been an awful bill in the way it has been put through parliament … This is having a devastating impact locally.”

Husic said several international firms are avoiding the Australian market because they believe storing data here is “not worth the risk”. Husic said Labor will push to reform the bill even if it remains in opposition.

However he ruled out repealing the legislation saying the challenge of bad actors misusing digital platforms was real and other jurisdictions were taking similar measures, although not as “hopelessly” as Australia.

Politicians Must Do Better On Tech: Husic

Regardless of which party wins government on Saturday Husic says a better understanding of technology is needed in Canberra.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Husic said of politicians digital literacy.

“I think the reality is parliamentarians are going to have to get across [digital technology] a lot more. Not just in terms of the profound impact of technology broadly but even from a government perspective.”

Every government department will deal with transformation projects, Husic says, and the politicians leading them need to understand the underlying technology to some extent.

“Gone are the days that you could just be there for the announcement and shove the project management to the IT help desk and hope that it just all worked out. That’s not going to work anymore. We’ve seen that through this term of this parliament with a number of digital derailments, some of which have not purely been because of the tech … A lot of it is governance.”


Labor promises 5,000 free tech TAFE places

The Australian Labor Party yesterday announced a technology skills development policy.

The effort has two main elements: 5,000 fee-free places in TAFE technology courses and a future initiative that will “task [the yet-to-be-appointed] Apprenticeship Advocate to refresh and expand the digital traineeship pathway to help tackle digital skills shortages.”

The TAFE scheme will see a Shorten government waive upfront fees for 5,000 students.

It’s yet to be decided what they’ll study, but a statement from shadow minister for the digital economy Ed Husic said “Areas of focus will likely include IT networking and systems administration, software and website development and UX/UI skills.” But that’s an aspirational list for now: Husic’s statement said the topics won’t be decided until after “consultation with states and territories, we will identify and develop a set of approved courses for the places.”

The plan calls for half of the fee-free places to go to women.

The apprenticeship plan is even less detailed, offering only a pledge to “partner with industry, unions, TAFE educators and experts to expand the reach of quality apprenticeships and traineeships in the ICT sector.”

While these plans are sketchy, they do match some of the outcomes sought by CRN readers at our election policy roundtable.

At our roundtable, Michael Forrest of Forest Training said “We need to go back to the grassroots of the government running the education of this country. They need to do an audit and an understanding of what they think is going on and then they need to go to the government institutions and private institutions to engage with what is really happening”.

He added “An IT apprenticeship would be fantastic. It would be creating that opportunity for the jobs that don’t exist in three years.”

Husic’s plans aren’t far from Forrest’s wishlist!

The Liberal Party has similar policies, outlined here, to create a  National Skills Commission that will “undertake research and analysis of future skills needs and investigate the efficient and fair price of qualifications” and create new “Skills Organisations” that develop training to create skilled people in growth areas. Two of the three initial pilots of Skills Organisations will cover “digital technologies and cyber security.”


Secure your job in three hours a week

What we learn, when we learn it and how we learn it all needs to change drastically as we edge closer to an automated economy, a study has found.

Commissioned by Google and produced by data analytics firm AlphaBeta, the Future Skills report examines over 300 jobs and 500 skills to pinpoint the skills needed for success in the future.

Among them, “uniquely human” traits such as teamwork, empathy, adaptability and leadership all feature.

The value of such skills is that they “complement, rather than compete” with AI and automation.

And while none of these skills are particularly revolutionary, the report suggests that it is the way in which these skills are delivered that requires an overhaul.

By 2040, three hours of your week will need to be dedicated to additional education and training – amounting to a 33% increase across an average lifetime – as lifelong learning becomes imperative.

“Millennials will be the last ­generation of young Australians sent out into the world with a qualification that is expected to last a lifetime,” said co-founder of AlphaBeta Dr Andrew Charlton in an op-ed for The Australian.

“Currently the average Australian receives more than 80% of their total lifetime hours of learning before the age of 21.

“But as change speeds up, the half-life of educational qualifications is falling. By 2040, we predict that more than 40% of total Australian education will be delivered after the age of 21 to mature Australians topping up skills to move jobs or stay relevant in jobs that are changing.”

The extra three hours of training per week will accumulate to 8,000 extra hours of training across a workers’ lifetime – 33% more than today’s average.

But AlphaBeta does not expect to see universities or even TAFEs cashing in from this education shift.

Rather, on-the-job training and short flexible courses will carry the load. On-the-job training is expected to make up 42% of an average Australian’s total lifetime skills training, up from 21% today.

Lifelong learning

The report also calls for an increased focus on late-in-life learning.

Increased life expectancies and later retirements mean Australian workers will have to take a “life-long learning” approach.

“In the future, Australians will need to continuously revise and refresh personal skills during a variety of life stages and in different personal circumstances, many of which are our current education system is not optimised to serve,” says the report.

The percentage of workers aged over 65 increased from 8% to 13% in the decade leading up to 2016, states the report, and it is likely it will continue to rise.

It also highlights the current discrepancy between adult and teenage learning – two hours per week for an adult versus 26 for a teen.

“Australians will need to learn more in all stages of their lives,” the report explains.

“But our analysis shows that the need for training in additional skills is largest in the later stage of a worker’s career.”

The classification of learning as a “continuous process” will force workers to change their priorities.

Apprentice completion rates: Company algorithm pinpoints at-risk students

Completion rates for apprenticeships in south-east Queensland have slipped to a near 20-year low of less than 50 per cent.

The figure compares to a high point of more than 70 per cent in in the early 2000s and comes from a training company which has developed an early-intervention program aimed at getting more apprentices to finish their courses.

Southport based Busy At Work, a not for profit company in the training and employment sector, has analysed data on 370,000 apprentices in the region over 19 years. The information is been run through a Gradient Boosting Machine algorithm, designed to pinpoint the combination of factors most likely to lead an apprentice to give up.

Busy at Work managing director Paul Miles pictured (left) with apprentice plumber David Shaw, says, “It’s about deciding what level of intervention a person needs and getting them through.” Attila Csaszar

An intervention program is put in place for an apprentice who triggers a combination of at-risk factors.

Managing director Paul Miles said the number of years a person stays at school is the strongest indication of how well they’ll last in an apprenticeship.

After school finishing levels, the second next risk factor for not completing is the industry type an apprentice chooses. Hairdressing and food services run the highest risk of non-completion. Traditional trades such as electrical or plumbing have relatively high success rates.

Long distance to work, low number of employees at a company and low number of supervisors are leading factors for failing to complete.

Mr Miles said taxpayers’ money is not being used efficiently in the training ;apand too many people who should be able to finish an apprenticeship give up out of frustration.

By finding combinations of risk factors his company has a highly accurate tool for targeting apprentices who need help.

Busy at Work has amassed data to produce a ranking of factors that show whether an apprentice will complete their course. Ryan Stuart

“Not everyone who leaves school before year 12 is going to fail. But if they live a long way from work, plus they’re in a more at-risk industry, we need to come up with a plan.

“It’s about deciding what level of intervention a person needs and getting them through. Some apprentices need a mentor. Some need an SMS every morning for the first six months to get them going. A lot of these kids just have no idea about getting up early or getting to the job on time, allowing for traffic.

The algorithm was developed by tech company Quantium which came up with some unexpected findings: apprentices starting their course in January are more likely to complete than those starting in April. Apprentices who start with low level training certificates (Cert 1 or Cert 2) have a massive increase in chances of finishing, even though they’re starting with only base-level qualifications.

Apprentices with the same surname as their employer are more likely to finish.

Paul Miles says the algorithm showed that girls being less likely to complete an apprenticeship had less to do with gender and more to do with the choice of industry. TREVOR COLLENS

Quantium lead developer, Anthony Maher said the data came from administrative files (after it had been de-personalised) which meant it was rich in detail and allowed them to isolate factors in a way that had never been done before.

He said while it’s generally accepted that girls are less likely to complete an apprenticeship, the algorithm showed this is less to do with gender and more to do with the choice of industry.

Training consultant, and former managing director of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Rod Camm said the technology was not being used to “weed out” people less likely to succeed. He said it is only be used to analyse work conditions once an apprentice has started.

“This is really the first major change to the administrative process of getting people through apprenticeships. Governments have done many laudable things but this is the first time someone has come up with an intervention for the people who are most in need.

“Basically things haven’t changed much in 30 to 40 years for apprentices. We have to change the game for them.”


How young people will be screwed out of the workforce in the coming decade

New research has found the vast majority of young people are entering the workforce have skills that will be totally redundant in a decade’s time.

New research has found the vast majority of young people are entering the workforce have skills that will be totally redundant in a decade’s time.Source:ThinkStock

Ahhhh, the perils of being young.

Housing unaffordability. Global warming. Student debt. But in case that wasn’t enough, here’s a fresh one to add to the bag: your job skills will probably be totally redundant in a decade’s time.

That, at least, is according to a new report commissioned by the Foundation for Young Australians.

The foundation’s research found that the vast majority of young people currently entering the workforce will be ill-equipped in a decade’s time, based on their current skillset.

The report argues that the economy is being short-changed by $4.5 billion a year, because young people are either not working or not working enough.

Jan Owen, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, said we need to quickly re-educate young people and equip them with skills they can actually use a decade from now.

While state governments have invested $91 billion in education and training every year, there are still massive numbers of young people not getting enough work.

“There’s a huge amount of money that goes into school education and then higher and further education, so it’s not really about the dollar figure … it’s more about what we’re using those funds for,” she told ABC radio. “Our research has shown that we need to quickly re-skill and start to think about how to prepare young people in the next decade for jobs that consistently and constantly change, and the skills and tasks and capabilities along that.”

So what skills are we talking about? Ms Owen said “soft skills” such as creativity, collaboration and characteristics are lacking in young people.

“What we’ve had until now across the globe — not just in Australia — is a knowledge and content-based education system at all levels, and we need to change that.”

She stressed that it’s not about discouraging people to study courses in disrupted industries like accounting or journalism, noting that “almost every single job will be disrupted” a decade from now.

She said it’s more about teaching students the skills that will sustainably help them.

“I think everybody is trying to understand and grapple with what they need to do differently. There are some great institutions doing great work, but there is no cohesive, overarching plan for students in Australia.

“Really, we’re asking for those good ideas to come together in a cohesive way.”

As we speak, nearly a third of young people in Australia are unemployed or underemployed, with those that enjoyed the mining boom in the last decade being hit the hardest.

The Foundation for Young Australians estimates that almost 900,000 young people will need “significant” reskilling between now and 2030.


MEDIA RELEASE: Australia investing $91 billion in education but still not equipped with the skills for the future

Governments across Australia are investing $91 billion in education and training annually, yet almost 1 in 3 young Australians is unemployed or underemployed according to new analysis by AlphaBeta for the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).

This high rate of youth unemployment is a lost opportunity for the Australian economy of more than $4.5 billion each year and diminishing the prospects of a generation of young people.

FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said that with 70% of young people currently learning skills that will be redundant by 2030, the mismatch between skills supply and demand is now one of the most pressing economic challenges facing Australia.

“We must transform our approach to learning so that current and future workers have the skills employers need and the cultural competencies required to thrive. This includes foundational skills, technical or job specific skills, career management capabilities and enterprise skills – often called ‘soft’ or ‘21st century’ skills.”

Yesterday the Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to create an extra 1.25 million jobs over the next five years, but it’s not clear how young Australians will get their share of these without the right skills.

There is now a critical mass of employer groups, economists, academics and graduates calling for urgent policy reform to ensure our young Australians have the skills required to navigate our changing economy and job market.

“To get to where we need by 2030, and avoid the economic and social crisis that is looming, we need a strong framework that delivers systemic change and that is based on evidence. We also need to  bring together a cross section of the community including employers, educators and government to make this work,” Ms Owen said.

“Young people, as the learners at the centre of this reform, are also crucial to this conversation and must be involved in the thinking and design of future learning systems and environments.”

FYA is proposing a national discussion with all the key players to create an agreed platform for action. This discussion would form the cornerstone of a four-part Future Skills Framework 2030.

“Without an integrated approach we are likely to end up with even greater problems, with employers, education and training providers, workers and the national economy all losers. This approach would allow all parties – including young people – to be actively involved in developing a shared vision of the solutions to support immediate and long-term reform.”

Redressing this will be the defining challenge for all governments through to 2030. Business as usual is not an option.

See the National Fact Sheet here.  


Please contact FYA’s Head of External Affairs and Communications, Shona McPherson via 0407 507 580 or shona.mcpherson@fya.org.au for further information. 


What’s On For 2019?!


The Skills and Thrills Careers Showcase is a FREE informative, engaging and creative showcase, designed to dispel the myths surrounding vocational education and training (VET), showcase the many various career pathways in VET and highlight the success stories of individuals who have chosen and exceled in VET courses and through apprenticeships and traineeships.

The showcases are designed for high school students in years 8-12 and include a one hour presentation that uses video, animation, music and guest speakers to portray careers information in a unique way.

The showcase will cover the latest facts about Australia’s skills shortages and high priority industry areas including;

• Community Services, including Healthcare
• Building and Construction
• Tourism
• Hospitality and Events
• Agribusiness
• Digital, IT & STEM
• Creative careers
• Automotive
• Retail

In addition to the video content the showcases will enjoy guest speakers including NSW Training Awards Ambassadors, NRL Ambassadors and local industry officers.

Locations and dates are as follows;

  • Dubbo– Thursday 02nd May, 2019 (schools please contact for interest)
  • Kiama- Tuesday 07th May, 2019 (schools please contact for interest)
  • Shellharbour– Wednesday 08th May, 2019. Greater Union Cinema. Session times: 9:30-10:30, 11:00-12:00, 12:30-1:30
  • Warrawong– Thursday 09th May, 2019. Gala Twin Cinema.  Session times: 9:30-10:30, 11:00-12:00, 12:30-1:30
  • Goulburn– Friday 10th May, 2019 (schools please contact for interest)
  • Parkes– Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th May, 2019 (schools please contact for interest)
  • Forbes– Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th May, 2019 (schools please contact for interest)
  • Bathurst– Wednesday 15th May, 2019. Metro Cinemas. Session times: 10:00-11:00, 11:30-12:30, 1:00-2:00
  • Muswellbrook– Thursday 16th May, 2019. Muswellbrook Cinema. Session times: 9:30-10:30, 11:00-12:00, 12:30-1:30
  • Parramatta– Tuesday 21st May, 2019. Parramatta RSL Club. Session times: 9:30-10:30, 11:00-12:00, 12:30-1:30
  • Campbelltown– Wednesday 22nd May, 2019. Event Cinema. Session times: 9:30-10:30, 11:00-12:00, 12:30-1:30
  • Central Coast Careers Expo– Tuesday 25th June, 2019. Avondale College, Cooranbong

The online Skills and Thrills portal and SkillsOne website provides information on the showcases and up to date video content promoting vocational education and training.

To book your school into a session, to request a visit to your area or for further information please contact Kirstin Casey on 0420 652 558 or kirstin.casey@skillsone.com.au.


Entering its ninth year in 2019, National Skills Week (NSWK) will be held from 26th August through to 1st September 2019. The week seeks to mobilise, inform and inspire Australians of all ages to explore the skills that Industry needs to advance Australia’s competitiveness and global opportunity and advance the promotion of Australia’s vibrant, high performing world class VET sector.

NSWK focus is to raise the status of practical and vocational learning, obtain a greater understanding of the opportunities, their potential whilst highlighting areas of skills needs and industry trends, its achievements, the contributions of teachers, the career pathways, and the future needs of Australian Industry.
With Employment projected to increase in 17 of the 19 broad industries over the five years to May 2023 in Australia *, with Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction, Education and Training and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services leading the growth, there is and will continue to be a strong demand for people with practical and industry ready skills that VET delivers.  NSWK 2019 will provide a platform for people to explore opportunities and training available.

In the lead up to and during this week Industry, Federal and State governments, VET and Secondary Education providers, community associations, media and other stakeholders work together in a collaborative approach  to produce hundreds of official and private events around Australia, highlighting the achievements, contributions, the career pathways, opportunities and success stories of VET.

For highlight videos and interviews from National Skills Week, visit the National Skills Weekwebsite.

We want you to play a part-practically organising and showcasing activities and events during the week -26th August 26th-1st  September. There are many ways you can be involved. If you would like to learn more about National Skills Week or discuss ideas on how to participate please contact Anne Cazar – Email: Anne.Cazar@skillsone.com.au Phone: 0438 808 848

* (Image) Employment Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch, Department of Jobs and Small Business, December 2018