Ask any engineer what the strongest geometric shape is and they’ll give you the same answer. A triangle. It’s the only shape that will not deform once the ends of its sides are connected, even loosely. It’s become very clear that the system we use for developing digital skills lacks this inherent strength. So, what’s missing and what’s DSO doing about it?
First, we need to look at the gaps in our education and training system. Across the board there is a lack of clarity and consistency around the pathways into tech roles. Critical digital skills shortages mean Australia will need an estimated additional 286,000 technology to join the sector by 2025. And the demand is only set to increase.
A key challenge of addressing the skills shortage lies in better defining the pathways that will enable people to commence and progress their technology careers. If Australia is to have any hopes in meeting its workforce targets, the issue of attracting, recruiting and mentoring talent in the tech sector takes on a new level of urgency.
This is where the DSO Pathways Model comes into play.
Our role is to advance innovative and emerging methods of skill development to satisfy the demands of industry and employers, in an already heavily digitised Australian economy.
By clearly identifying and articulating digital skills pathways, the needs of all key players within the triangle can be addressed; from individuals who want to start on a pathway for a technology career or upgrade their skills to further their technology careers; employers who need to develop career pathways and reskill existing workers; and training providers who need to design and deliver education and training programs.
The DSO Pathways Model seeks to define the central purpose behind virtually all technology careers via four components - purpose, pathways, proficiency and performance. Rather than focusing on specific occupations or job descriptions, the model is framed around overall purpose, irrespective of how a learner has been trained.
The benefit of this approach is its flexibility. Skills obtained from different pathways or at varying skill levels can now be blended or stacked to suit every individual's journey. This makes it easier for employers to describe their needs, simpler for learners to understand how their experience and potential translates into a digital career and helps training providers understand where they should focus their efforts to address the skills shortages.
It’s an industry that opens its doors wide and gives everyone a go.
We know that forty-two percent of people in the tech sector do not have a university degree and that those with a VET background experience only a three per cent pay gap compared to university degree holders. This is an incredible incentive for those looking to upskill and take on opportunities in a unique and high-paying industry.
As we look to forge tech pathways and rebuild the triangle, our immediate priority will be to liaise widely with industry and employers and to commence work on the vital next elements that will help to power the Australian economy.
Interested in reading more? Check out our latest research with NCVER here.