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  • 21 February 2019 09:03

AIIA calls for cohesive national approach to upgrade digital skills at tertiary education level

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the peak member body for the ICT industry, is calling for a cohesive national approach to raise the standard of digital skills education and training at tertiary education institutions to better meet the demand for skilled digital workers.

Sydney, Australia – 21 February 2019 -- The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the peak member body for the ICT industry, is calling for a cohesive national approach to raise the standard of digital skills education and training at tertiary education institutions to better meet the demand for skilled digital workers.

A staggering 46 per cent of Australian 15- to 19-year-olds participate in vocational education and training (VET). This provides a real opportunity to reach young Australians and provide them with digital skills to enhance their career options. Yet take-up of information technology courses ranked 12th out of 13 fields of education according to 2017 VET data.

The Australian Government’s review of the VET system is an opportunity to develop a national policy that can align vocational training approaches and outcomes across all states and territories. This will enable Australia to maximise the benefits of the $6 billion annual VET investment and focus on growing digital skills in the workforce.

Commenting on the importance of upgrading digital skills, AIIA CEO Ron Gauci, said: “The Government urgently needs to take every opportunity it can to ensure that Australian industry, businesses and the public sector have access to highly trained, digitally skilled young people that are ready to enter the workforce.

“The development of a national policy for tertiary education digital skills and training that is backed by appropriate investment in the system will create opportunities for both students and industry. This will require the Government to assume a lead coordination role to ensure collaboration across each of the states and territories.

“The alternative is to continue to offshore IT jobs to offset skills shortages in Australia, and increase the industry’s growing reliance on imported digital talent.

“The low VET participation rate of older Australians reskilling for new careers is also a concern. Nationally consistent policies that encourage and support VET retraining of older workers in digital skills will benefit individuals and business alike - both on a local level and in regional areas where there is a digital skills shortage,” added Mr Gauci.

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