The Morrison Government has delivered a comprehensive blueprint for the digital transformation of the Australian economy. For the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO), it reinforces our belief in the necessity of broad collaboration, driven towards a common goal.
1. A targeted strategy for the digital economy
The digital economy became a top priority in this year's Federal Budget as the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government's $1.2 billion Digital Economy Strategy included $100 million towards improving Australians' digital skills within the education and training ecosystem, as well as creating more immediate learning options for reskilling and upskilling for in-demand jobs.
2. A focus on collaboration
DSO CEO Patrick Kidd said the Digital Economy Strategy supports the DSO's goal to deliver the right digital skills to more Australians.
"Collaboration with industry/employers, training providers and digital specialists is critical for the success of our joint mission," Mr Kidd said.
The DSO has recently partnered with the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) in the exploration of a new end-to-end model focused on digitally upskilling the nation. The first of many such partnerships.
As Australia's peak industry body for innovative technology companies, the AIIA advocates for the sustainability of the digital industry in Australia through training and education. The ACS is Australia's largest body of ICT professionals and assures the continued high quality of education for the ICT profession in Australia.
"The AIIA, ACS and their valued members will play an integral role in the exploration, ensuring more Australians are equipped with the right digital skills to meet the demands of employers," Mr Kidd said.
3. Supporting digital skills cadetships
As jobs and business embrace digital technologies, growing Australia's digital skills will be key for productivity now and into the future.
The Australian Government is embedding a focus on improving Australia's digital skills within the education and training ecosystem, as well as creating more immediate learning options for reskilling and upskilling for in-demand jobs.
The Government will develop a new digital skills cadetship to ensure training in digital skills is relevant, timely and meets the need of our economy.
Over $10 million has been earmarked to trial up to four industry-led pilots to develop new pathways to build high-level digital skills.
Recognising the need for specialist skills in emerging fields, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and robotics, the Government is supporting more than 460 advanced scholarships to skill-up Australias in these fields.
These initiatives build on the 2021 job-ready Graduates Package of reforms to higher education, which will create up to 30,000 new university places, and 50,000 new short course places by 2021 and provide additional support for students in regional and remote Australia.
The announcement comes as a new report from the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and Deloitte identifies the chronic skills shortages in the sector.
"The Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology graduate Programs, along with the Digital Skills Cadetship trail are welcome, although we would highlight much more needs to be done to build the skilled workforce Australia needs to compete in the global connected economy," ACS CEO Rupert Grayston said.
AIIA CEO, Mr Ron Gauci said "we look forward to working with the Government to deliver its Digital Cadetship policy to ensure that people can embark on their digital careers and build skills and capability."
4. An employer-led approach to digital skills
Australian employers from all sectors will play an essential role in the growth of the nation's digital economy.
"We are actively working with employers, from major corporations to small businesses, to develop an innovative approach to digitally upskilling their employees and driving productivity in their organisations. It is essential we understand the employer journeys and barriers to realising the benefits of a digitally upskilled workforce," DSO CEO Patrick Kidd said.
"The Federal Budget has emphasised the importance of this effort, particularly as Australia recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic."
5. Supporting the digital transformation of SMEs
The Budget included $12.7 million to provide independent advice to Australian small businesses to help them build their digital capabilities through the Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Service program.
Meanwhile, $15.3 million will be used to enhance the value of electronic invoicing to help businesses reduce costs and increase productivity.
AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said 87 per cent of his members are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - the engine room of the Australian economy.
"We want to ensure the Government can provide an environment where it is affordable for SMEs to hire the right people who are skilled in the right areas," Mr Gauci said.