UNSW and Swinburne launch initiatives exploring the future of work

UNSW and Swinburne have each launched their own initiatives to educate about the future of work.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

With technology's role in the workplace evolving at pace, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Swinburne University of Technology (Swinburne) have each launched their own respective initiatives to educate about the future of work.

UNSW announced on Thursday in collaboration with AMP the launch of Designing the Future of Work, a massive open online course (MOOC) that explores how employers and employees can adapt to a rapidly evolving environment in which artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data are changing the way we live and work.

The course will answer questions such as: What new, disruptive technologies are on the horizon; how will jobs change; what challenges will employers and employees face; and how the design process can help create innovative solutions for employers and employees.

Associate dean of education at UNSW Sydney Art & Design professor Simon McIntyre said the MOOC will investigate design strategies that businesses can adopt to make the transition towards new technologies a more efficient process.

"By working with leading futurists and business innovators from AMP Amplify, we [are] able to bring both academic and practical perspectives to give learners real-world examples and strategies to help them become predictive, adaptive, and secure in their own work futures," McIntyre said.

Read more: AI impact: Rethinking education and job training

Rather than creating a MOOC, Swinburne has taken a different approach towards educating about the future of work by officially opening its Centre for the New Workforce, which will be based at the university's Hawthorn campus.

The centre is a research initiative designed to support Australian businesses, organisations, and their employees by developing new approaches to learning, where they will work alongside the centre's partners LinkedIn and Deloitte, Swinburne said.

The centre will investigate the fundamental changes under way in the future of work, and develop new approaches to learning so that individuals and their organisations can acclimatise to digital disruption.

Integrating learning in the workplace is enabling employees to take control of their career and provides them with security in their role to keep up with the increasing pace of change due to technology," Robbie Robertson, Deloitte experience and design partner, said.

"Ultimately, the future workplace will be a combination of learning and work integrated into one."

The launch of these initiatives by UNSW and Swinburne reflect the growing desire of Australians to better understand technology, with 51 percent of Australian workers being fearful about losing their jobs due to new technologies, according to a survey performed by Swinburne.

In March, Atlassian chief Mike Cannon-Brookes urged the Australian government to better plan for the automation era, telling a Senate inquiry that "hope is not a tactic".

"We need to shift our views on education as something we do when we're young to something we do throughout our entire life," Cannon-Brookes said.

Earlier this week, Anthony Scriffignano, senior vice president and chief data scientist at Dun & Bradstreet, said that organisations and their data science teams need to avoid the rush to try every new AI method, and understand the types of problems that AI can address.

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