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Below is a summary of major government work on digital skills; for a list of all government initiatives, refer to Australia’s Tech Future website.

Delivering future-focused, flexible and responsive education and training systems

The Government is working collaboratively with industry and the education sector to deliver broad reforms to the education and training systems so that Australians can build skills and adapt quickly as opportunities change.

The Quality Schools Package is focussing the Government’s investment in schools on quality teaching and programs that give students the skills and knowledge they need to live and work in the future.

The Government’s higher education policies are improving the sustainability of the higher education sector, supporting student career aspirations, and ensuring industry has a skilled workforce.

The Government is also reviewing the Australian Qualifications Framework. This review will look at how tertiary requirements could respond flexibly to changing industry and skills needs. It will also consider how micro-credentials could be combined and built upon throughout a person’s career to support lifelong learning. In addition, a review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards will assess the effectiveness of the standards as a framework to ensure the tertiary system is responsive to the evolving learning and skills needs of students and employers.

The Government is ensuring that the opportunities and benefits of vocational education and training (VET) are shared with the community through a national VET information strategy and by improving information resources for students so they can make better informed decisions about their future.

The Government is also working with industry on projects to meet industry needs. For example, a partnership of industry, governments and RMIT University, has successfully developed Australia’s first university short course on blockchain technology has been developed.

Supporting reskilling and transitioning workers

The Government is engaging with affected industries and communities to ensure workers are equipped to reskill or transition into new areas of employment.

The Government provides support for mature age workers transitioning into roles in growth industries through the Job Change initiatives. This includes theprovision of information and development of a new interactive Skills Transferability Tool to source job opportunities specifically tailored to the skills of the individual.

From 1 July 2018, the Retrenchment Rapid Response Framework is available to connect transitioning workers to supports and services. Through the Retrenchment Rapid Response Framework, the Government supports retrenched workers to make sure they can find a new job as soon as possible. The framework also aims to help employers though the retrenchment process, including how they can meet their obligations and provide their workers the support they need.

Supporting Australian regions

To support sustainable long-term economic growth, we must ensure that the impacts of growth are shared across the country, including to the regions.

Some regional areas, particularly those impacted by structural change in the economy, are facing challenges in terms of employment opportunities and industry growth. In response to this, the Government will introduce the Regional Employment Trials program in 10 selected disadvantaged regions.

Employment Facilitators will work with Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees in trial regions to develop projects to help tackle local employment challenges. The projects will bring together stakeholders and employment services providers.

The Regional Employment Trials start from 1 October 2018. The trial will deliver strong connections between regional stakeholders, tailored employment initiatives that meet local needs, and the potential for improved regional employment outcomes.

Supporting life-long learning

Supporting a culture of life-long learning and improving linkages between vocational education and training, the university sector and industry will help people develop the right skills at the right time in a way that suits them. That is why the Government is exploring mechanisms to better support life-long learning, including ways to overcome perceived barriers restricting people from engaging in further education and training.

The Government is considering new ways of delivering qualifications that meet the changing needs of the workforce in key sectors undergoing transition. This includes discussing with the business community how a student entitlement account model might operate.

Encouraging small business to embrace digital technology

Small and medium businesses with higher levels of digital engagement are significantly more likely to be growing revenue, creating jobs, exporting and innovating new products or services. Despite these benefits, many businesses are still a long way off adopting digital technology.

The Government is building small businesses digital capability through the Small Business Digital Champions initiative. The program will assist selected small businesses to transform their operations using hardware, software and digital training. Case studies of ‘Digital Champions’ and their mentors, will document and showcase their digital transformation to inspire and help other small businesses to ‘go digital’.

The Government will continue to working closely with industry to ensure businesses are enabled to take advantage of rapid and global technological changes and opportunities.

Accelerating and coordinating efforts to address priorities

The Government will continue to work closely with industry, the community and academia on a range of digital economy issues, including the importance of ensuring that Australian businesses have access to the digital skills they need. Through this collaboration, the Government will encourage industry-led work to consider the digital skills challenges experienced by different industry sectors and the broader community, and to boost digital skills across the sectors.