AIIA: more tech development support needed

Thursday, 28 September, 2023

AIIA: more tech development support needed

Following the release of the federal government’s Working Future employment white paper, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) says there is work to be done to support skills development. 

The organisation’s CEO Simon Bush said policy outlines are encouraging, but the far-reaching nature of technology makes skills development the imperative across every sector.

“The policies outlined today by the Albanese government are very positive for Australia’s tech sector. Technology impacts every sector of the economy and is a core component to the future economic growth of Australia and will be a key driver for productivity growth. There is much discussion about how developing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and quantum computing will transform the economy,” Bush said.

“It is vital we have a workforce skilled to harness this. These technologies will create employment opportunities that we need to ensure Australia is as best prepared for this as possible.”

Bush sees the issues emanating from a shortfall of graduates, requiring a significant push from government and higher education to rectify.

“There has been a shortfall of graduates for the technology sector, with our members highlighting the skills shortage as the biggest barrier to growth in the economy in our 2023 member survey. With our members citing AI and cybersecurity as key skills that are not available in Australia, it highlights the need for digital technology skills to be a focus for government, universities and the TAFE sector. Just 5% of respondents found graduates are job-ready, another sign the current training systems in place need to evolve,” he said.

“Jobs of the future need to be a priority and the focus needs to be on encouraging and supporting students to seek careers in technology. Showing students and parents the many benefits that a career in digital technology provides, including the high demand for these skills and in turn the wide range of employment opportunities and strong remuneration, will support increased enrolment. As such, greater partnerships between education providers and employers to showcase the employment pathway for graduates are needed.

Bush said micro-credentials are an effective educational pathway to upskill the workforce.

“Our recent Tech and Sustainability white paper calls for more investment in the skills needed to support decarbonising the economy through technology. There are incredible opportunities that tech offers, but we must have a trained and talented workforce to achieve this. Micro-credentials are a great way to upskill our workforce. The NSW TAFE, University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University initiative using micro-credentials as a pathway to an undergraduate degree is a perfect example of how they are supporting reskilling workers," he said.

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