Making the case for digital skills

Before the election the prime minister was energetic about innovation and how Australia will prosper by embracing the digital age. But being true did not make it popular and when Mr Turnbull said “entrepreneur” older, less educated voters heard “unemployment.”

But the feds are still trying, with a digital economy discussion paper, released yesterday.

“Structural changes in our economy, including digital disruption, are changing the skills that employers need. This requires workers to be adaptable enough to adjust to the changing nature of work and undertake life-long learning, including the use of micro-credentialing,” the paper proposes.

“People will need a combination of technical skills—a trade, university degree or on the job training—and entrepreneurial skills like communication, critical thinking and digital literacy. Management skills are vital for digital businesses to achieve global scale, and capture market value. We also need the right culture and mind-set to embrace innovation and lifelong learning.”

It’s true – just scary for anybody who does not think they could teach Apple about innovating. But it sets the challenge for the entire post-secondary sector to demonstrate that skills do not just offer survival they offer salvation from a working life trapped in one set of tasks.

The market might already be on to this. Training numbers increased last year, driven by a big rise in NSW, where 17 per cent of the increase was students taking subjects outside the AQF. This looks to CMM to like workers picking up a specific skill they need for their changing job or to get a new one.

The universities that are keen on getting into sub-degree programmes might also be thinking of shorter courses.


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