Revealed: Australian industries that will see highest job growth in next five years

skilled migrants

Which industries will create the most jobs in the coming five years? Take a look at the industries predicted to create most jobs in Australia according to the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

According to the Australian Jobs report, Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business’s annual publication about the Australian labour market there has been a significant shift away from medium-skill jobs towards higher-skill jobs in last two decades and a decline in lower-skill jobs.

The report states having the ‘ability to gain new skills and apply existing skills to new contexts will be critical to success in the changing labour market’.

A recent survey by the World Economic Forum found employers thought that, by 2022, more than half of all current employees would require significant reskilling or upskilling.

“Interestingly, the majority of employment growth over the past five years has been in occupations that generally require post-school qualifications.

“This is a long-term trend that is expected to continue, with the vast majority of jobs growth over the next five years projected to be in higher-skilled occupations,” Labour market analyst Ivan Neville said.

With the job market continuously evolving, here’s a look at the industries that will create maximum new jobs or see large falls in employment in Australia in the next five years.

Industries that will see maximum job creation:

According to the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, most new jobs will be created in four specific industries – Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction, Education and Training and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.

Health Care and Social Assistance industry is projected to have the strongest employment growth of any industry over the five years to May 2023,’ says the Australian Jobs report.

The top employing occupations in this industry are registered nurses, aged and disabled carers, child carers, nursing support and personal care workers and receptionists.

Construction industry which employs carpenters and joiners, electricians, construction managers, plumbers, is projected to have above-average employment growth over the five years to May 2023.

Education and Training employment is projected to increase strongly over the five years to May 2023, influenced by growth in the school-aged population, continued strength in international education and the growing demand for adult and community education.

There will be a great demand for primary and secondary school teachers, education aides, University lecturers and tutors.

The demand for highly educated workers like accountants, software and applications programmers, solicitors, graphic and web designers who come in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry category is too projected to increase strongly over the five years to 2023.

Industries with job growth

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

Industries that will see a big decline in jobs:

Machinery and Equipment Wholesaling, Printing, Agriculture, Polymer Product and Rubber Product Manufacturing and Non-Metallic Mineral Product Manufacturing will see a big decline in employment prospects.

Employment is projected to fall in Wholesale Trade (down by 9,700, or 2.7%) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (1,400, or 0.4%).

The 10 industry subdivisions that are projected to record the largest falls in employment include some in Wholesale Trade and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing but, notably, employment in a number of manufacturing subsectors is also projected to fall.

industries with job decline

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

‘Not just technical skills but need to be a whole package’

Melbourne-based career coach, Naishadh Gadani says the latest data is in sync with the trends seen now.

“It is mostly driven by population growth and the growing number of seniors in our country. Health Care and Social Assistance is creating a lot of jobs right now and will continue to grow in the next five years. With a booming population, we need more hospitals and medical staff and with an increased focus on aged-care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), there is a big demand for aged-care workers and disability carers,” Mr Gadani told SBS Hindi.

Mr Gadani says the demand for school teachers and university lecturers too will continue in the next five years due to the population boom in big cities.

“Population growth means we need more schools and therefore this report rightly points out that primary and secondary school teachers, as well as university lecturers, will be in great demand in the next five years.

But it is not just technical skills that will land you the role, says labour market analyst Ivan Neville.

Mr Neville noted that the jobs market is highly competitive and employers are not just looking for people with technical skills but for people who have the ‘whole package’.

“In addition to education and experience, employers increasingly value staff who have employability skills — which includes personal and people skills, a good work ethic and the ability to work in a team.”

(This is part one of our report on Australian Job Market Outlook)

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SOURCEAAP:https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/revealed-australian-industries-that-will-see-highest-job-growth-in-next-five-years

 

Queensland facing potential skills shortages in 139 different areas

Queensland could soon be struggling for workers in dozens of skills areas from plumbing to robotics unless changes are made to vocational education, the state’s Premier says.

Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday identified 139 potential future skills shortages in traditional, but rapidly changing professions.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media alongside Tourism Minister Kate Jones about the need to revamp Australia's future skills training system.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media alongside Tourism Minister Kate Jones about the need to revamp Australia’s future skills training system.CREDIT:AAP

Electrical works, plumbing, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, early childhood, digital technologies, robotics and utilities all fit the bill.

Skills and training were among a number of issues Australia’s premiers, chief ministers and the prime minister tackled on Friday at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Cairns.

Ms Palaszczuk’s comments came before the meeting and the council later produced a vision statement for a revamp of Australia’s vocational education training sector.

Ms Palaszczuk said future skills shortages were the reason the Queensland government launched a “free” apprenticeships scheme on August 5, which will cost taxpayers $32 million.

That policy will encourage 60,000 Queenslanders under 21 to take up an apprenticeship.

“They will be in skills areas where we have recognised where we will have skills shortages in the decades to come,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Queensland has already done the work and identified 139 skills where there could be shortages into the future.”

After the meeting Ms Palaszczuk said the $32 million funding would pay for the training component for apprentices to make taking on an apprentice more cost-effective for businesses.

“I think we need to make it easier for young people to get a loan if they choose to go into vocational education and training,” she said, adding that traineeship fees needed to be simplified.

At its peak in 2014, total government expenditure in the training sector was more than $9 billion a year but by 2018 this had fallen to well below $7 billion.
At its peak in 2014, total government expenditure in the training sector was more than $9 billion a year but by 2018 this had fallen to well below $7 billion.CREDIT:STEVEN SIEWERT

“There has a been a lot of focus in the past on university education but I think there needs to be an equal focus on vocational education because there is going to be a skills shortage and we need to get young people into these employment opportunities now.”

Prime Minister Scott Morison said the “jobs of the future” weren’t just in technology, but increasingly in human services areas such as aged or disability care.

He said parents should be confident about their child’s future if they chose to pursue a trade or a skills-based education.

“It is not second prize,” he said.

The federal government funded a National Skills Commission in its April budget to better identify and plan for skills shortages and work with industry to design training courses, but it is yet to be established.

A new COAG Skills Council will present leaders with a reform road map for the sector in early 2020.

A detailed federal government study, Strengthening Skills, released earlier this agreed changes were needed to simplify student loans.

“The Commonwealth and the states and territories agree to develop a simpler, nationally consistent funding policy for all government-subsidised qualifications, which provides confidence and certainty to trainees, industry, employers and all funded providers, public or private,” the Joyce report says.

Ms Palaszczuk said work to restrict Australia’s waste export industry and control plastics and packaging was also commendable.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/queensland-facing-potential-skills-shortages-in-139-different-areas-20190809-p52fpw.html

Skills council to drive vocational education reform

The current training system need to be more agile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Picture: Marc McCormack/AAP
The current training system need to be more agile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Picture: Marc McCormack/AAP

The federal and state governments will create a new “skills council” to drive vocational education reform and deliver a plan to overhaul the sector next year, as premiers unite with Scott Morrison to put TAFE on an equal footing with universities.

Businesses and the housing ­industry hailed the Council of Australian Governments commitment to VET yesterday following warnings of skills shortages in some sectors and calls for bolder reforms to fix the nation’s training system.

“It needs to be agile, it needs to be modern, it needs to be up to date,” the Prime Minister said. “It can take you 12 months to change a qualification in this country.

“I mean, that’s not agile and that needs to be improved. I want, and we all want, students, whatever age they are — they could be 21, they could be 61 and going through a career change, or 41, or whatever age it is. And I want them to have confidence that that system is going to help them with their ­future intentions and their future careers.”

COAG released a “vision” for the VET sector, including that it provides workforce skills and relevant, up-to-date qualifications that are matched to the evolving opportunities and challenges of the economy.

“A co-operative approach ­between the federal government, state and territory governments, together with meaningful consultation with industry, will help to deliver a much-needed refresh for the VET sector,” the Housing ­Industry Association’s Kristin Brookfield said.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said COAG’s agreements — including that the skills council advise leaders on ­future reform priorities by the end of the year — marked a new page in the country’s education and training manual.

“Our parliamentary leaders have come together to agree on what that looks like — a vision where VET and university education are given equal standing,” Mr Pearson said.

Also discussed at COAG was the embattled Murray-Darling Basin Plan, with all states agreeing to reaffirm their commitment to the plan and to the appointment of an inspector-general to oversee water resources and ­improve transparency and accountability.

The state leaders acknowledged the impact the drought was having on rural communities.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/skills-council-to-drive-vocational-education-reform/news-story/108c34881644ed40d1f7da654f14934f

Morrison urges states to act on skills

PM Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders hold a formal COAG meeting in Cairns on Friday.

 PM Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders hold a formal COAG meeting in Cairns on Friday.

The nation’s leaders will grapple with the best way to give Australians the skills they and employers need for the jobs of the future.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had a good discussion on the topic with premiers and chief ministers over dinner in Cairns on Thursday night and expects to make further progress during the formal Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday.

“Qualifications and accreditations aren’t keeping pace with the modern economy and employers are not getting people out of the training system they need that can actually make their business work better,” he told 2GB radio ahead of the meeting.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk – the only leader to speak heading into the meeting – expects the issue to be front and centre of the discussion.

“We need to make it easier for young people to get a loan if they choose to go into vocational education and training,” she told reporters.

“There has been a lot of focus in the past on university education and I think we need to have an equal focus on VET education because there is going to be a skill shortage.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants a national approach to look at vocational training and universities as a single sector, something the Business Council of Australia has also been pushing for over several years.

The federal government funded a National Skills Commission in its April budget, to better identify and plan for skills shortages and work with industry to design training courses, but it is yet to be established.

Federal Labor’s education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek accused the government of having gutted TAFEs and now offering to put back a paltry amount of cash.

“When will the Liberals do something serious to fix the skills crisis they have created?” she told AAP.

“By locking Australians out of TAFE and training, the Liberals are locking Australians out of jobs. By presiding over a skills crisis, the Liberals are holding Australian businesses back.”

But Mr Morrison pointed out more than four in five Australians in training went through private providers, with only about 16 per cent studying at TAFEs.

“The problem I’ve got at the moment is the way the system is funded and the way the system is run,” he said.

Ahead of the main COAG meeting, leaders in the Murray-Darling Basin states signed an agreement about the management of the basin plan, in line with what water ministers decided last Sunday.

The COAG agenda is also expected to cover mental health and suicide, domestic violence, infrastructure, preschool education, population planning, and indigenous disadvantage.

Leaders are expected to agree on a plan for tackling plastic waste, which is reaching crisis point after China stopped accepting foreign recycling imports.

“I know this, as you all do, is an issue of great concern right across the community and I’m very encouraged by some progress we’re already making on that front,” Mr Morrison said in his opening remarks.

Outside the Cairns Convention Centre, about two dozen protesters gathered calling for action on climate change.

A woman wearing a pink Extinction Rebellion shirt said she was there to perform a citizen’s arrest on Mr Morrison and ministers Angus Taylor and Matt Canavan for crimes against humanity and the environment.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.theislanderonline.com.au/story/6319052/morrison-urges-states-to-act-on-skills/?cs=7

Skills, not job titles, are the new metric for the labour market

The Shanghai city skyline
Shanghai … a training pool for other regions.

The rise of tech is currently transforming the labour market, leading to the automation of some jobs and tasks on the one hand and the emergence of new kinds on the other. Proactively preparing for this new reality requires an in-depth, granular understanding of these changes and their impact on jobs and employment. LinkedIn data is able to provide additional insight on this by taking a skills-based approach to labour-market analysis.

Skills are the new currency on the labour market. Skills indicate demand and supply at a more nuanced level than occupations, whose required expertise and skills are changing increasingly quickly, and degrees, which are often already outdated by the time they are obtained. The current pace of change requires following the direction of a skills-based, rather than degree-based labor market, which is a much more dynamic variable. Using skills as a variable of analysis provides a powerful tool in helping policymakers prepare for the future while building resilience in the present day.

Based on these shifts, LinkedIn has developed the Skills Genome — a new metric, which allows us to harness that analytical power to gain a more granular understanding of labour market trends and developments. Using skills information provided by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, a digital representation of the global economy based on data generated from 630 million members with more than 35,000 skills globally, the metric allows us to define and analyse the unique skills profile of various segments of the labor market. We can use it to identify those skills that are more prevalent in one segment compared to others. These segments can include a geography (e.g. a city), an industry, a job type (e.g. data scientists), or a population (e.g. women).

In China, for example, we examined the dynamics of digital skills across two of the most economically active and open regions: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Yangtze River Delta. In a report on digital economy and talent development in the former, we found that China’s Greater Bay Area has an overall net inflow of talent equipped with digital skills, and Shenzhen is a digital talent hub in the Greater Bay Area. We also found that talent in the region mainly majored in finance and technical fields of study, and possesses general-purpose skills such as project management and leadership, with a relatively low level of integration of digital skills. Soft skills like management, leadership and negotiation rank higher in this region, regardless of high-level talents or digital talents.

In a similar report for the Yangtze River Delta Region, we found that Shanghai plays an important role in training and developing junior-level talent with diversified skills to support other regions. We also found that the top 10 fastest growing positions in the past four years are all considered intermediate and senior management positions covering customer service, marketing, finance, products, operations and other functions. Skills that have seen the sharpest increase can be divided into four categories: (1) functional skills such as marketing and customer service; (2) soft-power skills such as leadership; (3) digital skills such as social media; and (4) value-added skills such as English. The categories of skills indicate that the Yangtze River Delta region is increasingly open to the wider world and has become increasingly linked to digital opportunities.

SourceAPP:https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/skills-not-job-titles-are-the-new-metric-for-the-labour-market/

Opportunities for Australia to Help Close Indonesia’s Skills Gap

Jarryd de Haan, Research Analyst, Indian Ocean Research Programme

Background

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on 29 June. According to a media release from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jokowi made a statement during that meeting which said that: ‘Within the next five years, Indonesia will drive its priority focus on human resources improvement, including the development of vocational education and higher education sectors’. He added that Indonesia wishes for greater co-operation with Australia to help it reach those goals. Those comments came one day after a Roundtable event in Perth titled ‘Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Mining and Tourism sectors: Opportunities and Challenges’. The Roundtable was convened by the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, in collaboration with the Consulate-General in Perth.

Comment

As discussed in a previous Strategic Analysis Paper, Indonesia needs to maintain a GDP growth rate of approximately five to six per cent to achieve the goal of becoming the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050. In a bid to achieve this, Indonesia is seeking significant investment in a number of key priority sectors, including: infrastructure; manufacturing; maritime; agriculture; tourism and digital. As investment is poured into those sectors, significant growth in the supply of skilled workers will be needed to fulfil their growing demands. Unfortunately, Indonesia currently suffers from a skills shortage.

To remedy that skills shortage, the education sector needs to offer opportunities for Indonesian workers to develop the skills they need. Currently, however, the number of students enrolled in courses related to priority sectors, does not match the number needed to effectively sustain those sectors. Additionally, as noted by some attendees at the Roundtable event, there is, in some cases, a significant gap between the certifications offered and what is required by industry employers seeking skilled workers.

The Indonesian Government, therefore, needs to balance procuring investment in key sectors with investment in its education sector. The pending ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will help facilitate investment. Australia can then play a major role in developing Indonesia’s education sector. The potential for Australia’s involvement has already been recognised by some Indonesian officials, as noted by Tom Lembong, the head of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board. He considers that the solution to Indonesia’s skills problem is Chinese capital combined with Australian training.

Much of that potential lies in developing TVET for the Indonesian mining sector. Australia is already a significant investor in the sector, which accounts for 64.3% of Canberra’s total investment in the country over the past five years. Australia’s experience in heading a nationally regulated and consistent TVET programme, with regular input from the relevant industries, is also invaluable to Indonesia.

As noted by the secretary general of the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education, Professor Ainun Na’im, Indonesia’s vocational training is traditionally based on an academic level, with a record of poor co-operation with industries seeking to employ future graduates. Adopting practices from Australia’s approach to TVET, could address many of the skills shortages that Indonesia faces across a variety of sectors.

sourceAPP:http://www.futuredirections.org.au/publication/opportunities-for-australia-to-help-close-indonesias-skills-gap/

PM sets new goals for digital skills

PM sets new goals for digital skills

Scott Morrison: Productivity focus on building better digital skills across the economy

In his first major domestic speech since the May 18 federal poll, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to improve Australia’s digital skills, and to drive the uptake of new technologies within the nation’s financial system.

Mr Morrison outlined for the first time the government’s response to recommendations of the Joyce Review into Australia’s vocational education and training system, which was handed to the government in March.

The review, led by former New Zealand minister for tertiary education, skills and employment Steven Joyce, pointed to a need for VET courses to be updated to address skills gaps in emerging industries such as advanced manufacturing, information and communication technology, and cybersecurity.

“The Review acknowledges the good work undertaken in the sector so far, but says VET needs to adapt so it can support important and emerging industries and become a first choice for students who want to pursue technical careers,” the Prime Minister said.

“We believe that learning through a vocational education is just as valuable as a university degree, so we want to transform the way we deliver skills, support employers and fund training.”

Mr Morrison said initial steps would include setting up a National Skills Commission and a new National Careers Institute “to give people the information they need to decide their future careers and the best pathways to get them into a job.”

He said government would create up to 80,000 additional apprentices over five years in priority skills shortage areas through increasing apprenticeship incentives.

Small Business minister Michaelia Cash and assistant minister Steve Irons have been appointed to oversee these implementations, Mr Morrison said.

Speaking to the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday, the Prime Minister also pledged to focus attention on boosting competition and technology adoption in the financial services sector a pet issue that Mr Morrison has pressed since his time as Treasurer.

Mr Morrison said Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Jane Hume would drive changes in the financial services sector, including the introduction of Open Banking, the new Consumer Data Right; as well as encouraging wider uptake of the New Payments Platform across the economy; establishing a mandatory comprehensive credit reporting system; and finalising a digital trade benchmark agreement with Singapore by the end of the year.

“With greater information, new entrants and small lenders, including innovative FinTech firms, will be encouraged to compete for small business and retail customers,” Mr Morrison said.

“The mutuals sector, including customer owned banks and cooperatives, will also be able to compete better with our legislation lifting restrictions on their ability to raise capital being passed just before parliament rose.

“More broadly, our Government will continue to advocate strongly for a rules-based and open global trading environment that supports digital trade, builds trust and confidence in the online environment, and reduces barriers.”

sourceAAP:www.innovationaus.com

The government keeps talking about revamping VET – but is it actually doing it?

The vocational education and training (VET) sector is integral to Australia’s economy and the businesses and workforce that underpin it. The sector provides skills to 4.2 million students at 4,200 registered training providers.

This is important because, as the World Economic Forum highlights, access to skilled workers is a key factor that distinguishes successful enterprises from unsuccessful ones. But many Australian employers are unhappy with the VET system – employer satisfaction is the lowest it’s been in the decade.

The rise of the digital economy and the fourth industrial revolution are predicted to cause major job disruptions. In essence, industry needs are changing rapidly and the VET sector isn’t keeping up. And there are ongoing concerns about the quality of the sector itself, after the rise of some dodgy private organisations offering questionable qualifications.

In November 2018, the federal government appointed former New Zealand skills minister Steven Joyce to lead a once-in-a-generation review of VET. The Coalition government based many of its pre-election announcements on some recommendations of this review (now known as the Joyce review), which were released in April 2019.

So, what did Joyce recommend and is the government actually heeding the advice?

What did Joyce recommend?

The Joyce review details 71 recommendations. These form the basis of a six-point plan to transform VET so it can provide students with skills that reflect the needs of employers.

The plan centres on:

  • strengthening quality assurance
  • speeding up qualification development
  • simplifying funding and skills matching
  • providing better careers information
  • providing clearer secondary school pathways into VET
  • providing greater access for disadvantaged Australians.

The Joyce review noted it might take five to six years to act on many of the recommendations. In the interim, the report advised moving early on recommendations that would address the declining confidence in the sector. These early steps are:

  1. bringing forward reforms to strengthen the Australian Skills Quality Authority – the national VET regulator
  2. piloting a new business-led model of organising skills for qualification development, and extending work-based VET further into less traditional areas, such as assistant professional jobs in health care or high-tech industries
  3. establishing a national skills commission, which would start working with the states and territories to develop a nationally consistent funding model based on shared needs
  4. revamping apprenticeship incentives to increase their attractiveness to employers and trainees
  5. establishing a national careers institute, which would provide better careers information to students
  6. introducing new vocational pathways into senior secondary schools to create a more seamless transition from Year 11 and 12 into VET courses
  7. providing new support for second-chance learners needing foundation language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
  8. Is the government doing it?

    The federal government agreed to implement most of the early action recommendations. It committed A$525 million to the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package. But it has a looser interpretation of how early these should be put in place.

    Only two of the six early actions identified by the Joyce review were budgeted for in 2019-2020: the establishment of a national skills commission and a national careers institute. Some actions, such as 40% of the funding for a new apprenticeship initiative, or A$108 million, are only planned to be resourced as late as the 2023-24 budget.

    The review’s recommendations mainly focused on the slow process of creating and updating qualifications. This is good, but it could be argued the review didn’t directly address the needs articulated by various industry groups.

    These included calls for more collaboration between the VET and university sectors. Then there was the Business Council of Australia’s appeal for a single market platform and funding model for the two sectors to enable workers to more easily retrain and reskill over their lives.

    However, the review agrees with industry that “change will take time”. It will require the federal government to “work with the states and territories” but also, as the Productivity Commission noted, the changes will need to be “piloted and evaluated by willing industries”.

    Some creative partnerships

    Some states and territories have already started experimenting with a small number of players in the VET sector to overcome industry concerns. There is Rio Tinto’s collaboration with Western Australia’s South Metropolitan TAFE to develop an autonomous vehicle qualification. And Blockchain Collective’s development of an Advanced Diploma of Applied Blockchain).

    Other significant experiments include the New South Wales government’s Sydney School of Entrepreneurship between TAFE NSW, universities and industry, and the Factory of the Future between the Victorian government, Swinburne University and Siemens.

    These green shoots point to a willingness in governments, industry and broader VET stakeholders to take the initiative to work together and experiment. We believe this will help overcome the inertia in making changes to the VET sector, and better meet the future needs of employers and students.

    SourceAAP:theconversation.com

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”.

SourceAAP:www.theaustralian.com.au