What are the opportunities in skills?

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Access to skills and technologies will enable Australia’s existing industries to stay competitive, new industries to emerge, and our labour market to be flexible and diverse.

Maintaining a strong national curriculum

Education plays a critical role in shaping the lives of young Australians.

The Australian Curriculum provides schools, teachers, parents, students, and the community an understanding of what students should learn, while recognising that children are different. Children develop at different rates, have different learning preferences and areas of interest, and have different aspirations. The curriculum covers the

knowledge and skills required by Australian students to live and work successfully in the 21st century, regardless of where they live or what school system they are in.

Australia will build on the strengths of the Australian Curriculum to ensure young Australians are well-prepared for changes in the way we live and work.

Building on Australia’s highly-educated population

Australians have high levels of education compared to other OECD nations and have strong skills such as creative problem solving, teamwork and communication.

The 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey, which reports the views of over 4,000 employers of recent graduates, found employers have high levels of satisfaction with a wide range of graduate skills including collaborative (86 per cent) and adaptive skills (90 per cent).

By combining these with specific technical capabilities, we can create a modern workforce with rewarding career paths for Australians.

Our capable, skilled people will continue to attract international investment in technology-driven industries that will in turn create opportunities for the next generation of Australians.

Creating jobs and growth by embracing technology

In 2015, AlphaBeta estimated that automation, harnessing the power of machines to perform tedious and less valuable tasks, could significantly boost Australia’s productivity and national income, by up to $2.2 trillion by 2030.

These benefits depend on encouraging more firms to intensify their efforts to embrace technology and Australia’s ability to create new opportunities for those workers at risk of being displaced by automation.

This is an opportunity for Australia to leverage our highly educated and digitally literate workforce and build capability in a broad range of technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things. This capability can help grow existing industries and develop exciting new ones.

Increasing flexibility in the education and training system

Technology is transforming the education sector, increasing flexibility for students and has the potential to reduce the costs of delivery. This includes increased options for both formal and informal education such as the growth of Massive Open Online Courses.

To help workers to transition or reskill, the education sector needs to embrace non-traditional forms of study. This could include micro-credentials, which recognise informal and formal learning in specific areas and offer an efficient way to ensure that employees are keeping their skills relevant and certified.

Anticipating industry needs

Understanding skills within occupations and industries and mapping transition pathways will help individuals and businesses make informed decisions on labour market trends. It also assists Government to target support to industries where transitions may be more difficult. By working with industry, the Government will build on the regular research it currently collects on industry and occupation trends to better understand future skills requirements.

Supplementing existing skillsets and increasing skills transfer

Australia is in a global contest for talent and has shortages in some digital skills. Skilled migration offers an important way of attracting highly-skilled people who can help grow new opportunities and address short-term gaps. Our visa system needs to support Australia compete for global talent in fields where suitably skilled Australians are not available. This will assist with our economic transition and help transfer skills to Australian workers.