Australian government to pilot new training approaches to tackle digital skills gap

The Australian government said the pilot will focus on new approaches to designing digital qualifications and training for entry-level data analysts.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

For the Australian government, its Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) is undertaking a trial to test new approaches to designing digital qualifications and training to help the digital sector address the local skills gap.

As part of the trial, DSO will focus on entry-level data analysts as well as necessary general digital skills.

"The Morrison government's economic plan to secure Australia's recovery from the COVID-19 recession has digital skills at its centre. This pilot is doing the work to ensure those qualifications are fit-for-purpose so we can improve our skills pipeline and bring more Australians into our digital workforce," Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Robert said.

"This trial will provide a picture of what specialist digital skills are needed, improve the relationship between employers and the training system, and get more people into jobs."

The pilot will come off the back of DSO's first pilot project that involved working with online learning provider General Assembly, Indigenous ICT training provider Goanna Education, and TAFE Queensland to trial and test solutions to train and employ 100 data analysts each.

During the last Budget, the federal government set aside AU$77.1 million into skills. The funding is expected to be shared by the "Digital Skills Cadetship Trial" to deliver work-based learning opportunities for in-demand digital jobs, with AU$10.7 million; AU$22.6 million for the "Next Generation Emerging Technology Graduates Program" that will provide more than 200 scholarships in emerging technologies; and $43.8 million for the expansion of its Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund to fund additional innovative projects to quickly improve the quality and quantity of cybersecurity professionals in Australia.

Meanwhile, the NSW government is looking to ramp up its own digital workforce with 205 new digital specialist hires -- 135 product, software, data, and Salesforce engineers, and 70 content, service, and product designers.

"NSW is the most digitally advanced jurisdiction in Australia, and we're committed to becoming world leaders in service delivery. By recruiting additional engineers, designers, and frontline support staff, we're fulfilling our promise of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do," NSW Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said.

"We've seen through the pandemic with QR Codes, Dine & Discover Vouchers, and the delivery of business grants, how important a world-leading digital product is for the people of NSW. This recruitment will ensure that we continue working towards making life safer and easier for the people."  

Also, in NSW, the state government has committed AU$1.4 million to establish the NSW Space Research Network to be located at  Tech Central and co-hosted by the University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney.

The network will serve as a space for universities, industry, and government to tackle space challenges, carry out research into commercial space products, and upskill graduates, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said.

"The network will position NSW enterprise to compete in the space sector by connecting key stakeholders to undertake R&D activities with a focus on translation and impact," network co-director of The University of Sydney Stefan Williams said.

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