Discussion paper highlights urgent need for transformation of digital skills training

Discussion paper highlights urgent need for transformation of digital skills training

Digital Skills Organisation proposes solution through new skills-based model

The Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) is calling on industry leaders, employers and the training sector to collaborate on the transformation of digital skills training in Australia to close the ever-growing talent gap.

The discussion paper – Towards a new model for the development of digital skills – brings together leading research, data and insights from employers, training providers and learners to introduce a simpler employer-led, skills based model for digital skills development.

“The skills gap is getting bigger”, said Patrick Kidd, DSO CEO. “Australia needs roughly 60,000 new digital workers every year, over the next five years. Which seems impossible when in 2019 only 7,000 students graduated with an IT degree and fewer than 3,000 people completed a Cert IV in the ICT training package”, he said.

With research predicting 90 per cent of all Australian workers will be using digital skills in their job within the next five years, this timely discussion paper proposes solutions to solve the problems facing industry and the training sector.

“This urgent need for digital skills can only be solved through more flexible, up-to-date training products that respond at speed to technology changes and coordinated agreement on the model to change this. Our skills-based model does this through focusing on ways to develop skills that are adaptable to future needs by enabling individual learners to achieve skills that are transferable across different jobs, occupations and contexts. The model includes three elements: Digital Skills Pathways, Digital Skills Standards and Digital Centres of Excellence,” said Mr Kidd.

Digital Skills Pathways provide a signposted journey that leads an individual or organisation to understand the skills needed for occupations. Each pathway is shaped by industry demand and described in a unifying language and taxonomy recognised by all, to help align employers, learners and training providers.

These pathways lead to Digital Skills Standards that describe the skills and the associated level of performance to undertake specific functions in the workplace based on in-demand skills.

Then Digital Centres of Excellence bring these approaches together. They cultivate a network of training providers who provide expertise in skills based training and collaborate with employers to align workforce skill gaps with skills-based training solutions aligned to a particular digital skills pathway such as Software Developers or Cyber Security

“To get people into the right roles faster, we need to simplify the system. We must all talk the same language to unite employers, learners and training providers while creating more accessible pathways open to all and providing clear guidance to training providers on the priorities.”

“By using and defining skill standards,  learners will have something which they can be assessed against and employers will be given more confidence about the people they employ.The final piece of the puzzle is working closely with registered training organisations to co-design training packages that deliver technically current skills,” Mr Kidd said.

“This is a significant change focused on more flexible and transferable skills. It will build on the great work done to date and further shape our national training system to be more responsive to the digital needs of the economy, industry, employers, employees and students. Digital skills have until now been poorly understood by employers, learners, and even training providers. This needs to change, and we want to help guide this transformation,” said Mr Kidd.

The Canberra Cyber Hub is an organisation already working with the DSO to test this model as it seeks to grow Canberra’s cyber security workforce and education pathways. “An employer-led skills-based approach, and a new cybersecurity pathway model, will make it easier for learners of all ages and backgrounds to access this ever-growing profession. We want the employers to drive the design of these courses and pathways with the skills they need so we can help grow a pool of diverse cyber professionals,” said Dr Michael Frater, Chair of the Canberra Cyber Hub.

The DSO is encouraging all industries, tech and non-tech, to engage with the discussion paper and provide input through an online survey. Mr Kidd says, “Everyone needs to work together to solve the skills crisis. The economic opportunities for Australia are too great to be passed up.”

To read the discussion paper and provide feedback visit digitalskillsorg.com.au/research

Media contact:

Paige Folta - 0414 899 929

About DSO

Established in 2020 and funded by the Australian Government, the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) was a recommendation out of Strengthening Skills – Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System, a report by the Hon Stephen Joyce.

The DSO is championing an employer-led, skills-based approach while recognising digital skills are needed by everyone, and every employer, tech and non-tech. By connecting employers with training providers, the DSO will design, trial, evolve and scale new ways of training to equip learners with the skills needed to meet a rapidly changing, technological future while delivering against employers’ needs.

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