ACS, the professional association for Australia’s technology sector, has welcomed the Federal Government’s JobMaker plan outlined by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the National Press Club yesterday afternoon.
Equipping businesses, governments and students with an accurate picture of industry’s skills needs is an essential part of building a 21st century workforce, said ACS president, Ian Oppermann.
“The COVID-19 lockdowns have provided challenges to the entire economy and ACS has released several key initiatives supporting a wide range of areas to support the technology sector and our membership," Dr Oppermann said.
These initiatives include cyber security and working from home technology guides, a career hub for ACS members, and a Virtual Tech and Employability Skills half day conference to assist those who are entering the technology workforce.
“Now, as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown, we are presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to position the nation so our businesses and citizens can take advantage of the Industry 4.0 era,” Dr Oppermann said.
“This was the thinking behind ACS’ announcement last year of an AI centre of excellence based out of our Melbourne Innovation Hub and early stage investment fund.
“However, in order to take advantage of these opportunities, we need a skilled and flexible workforce underpinned by a modern training system, something that has been highlighted by ACS’ annual Digital Pulse report."
The 2019 Digital Pulse reported three policy priorities for driving the growth of Australia’s digital economy: boosting skills, start-ups and investment, with the highest priority being skills development.
Last year’s report found the nation faced a shortage of 100,000 tech workers by 2024 on current trends while the direct benefit for individuals reskilling to fill these roles could potentially be an income boost of more than $11,000 per year.
The 2019 Digital Pulse also noted that while university completions in technology degrees had risen slightly, there was a significant decline of 11,875 VET sector technology subject enrolments since 2016, underscoring the Prime Minister’s call for refreshing the options available through vocational education channels, Dr Oppermann said.