The nature of jobs and work is changing, and the skills required to do those jobs will be different to those required today.
Technological advances such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing are the driving forces behind much of this change and while the impact on jobs is somewhat unknown, it is likely to be significant.
As a result, a new approach to skills and training is required. This is particularly true for the large segment of the population in jobs today which may be automated or augmented by artificial intelligence in the future.
Microsoft is committed to helping Australians develop the skills required to thrive in the digital age.
It has launched its National Skills Program to help people already in the workforce and disadvantaged groups most in danger of falling behind as the economy becomes more and more technology-driven.
It will include several pilot programs which Microsoft will deliver in partnership with other organisations in both the private and public sectors. The pilots are designed to understand which approaches are most effective and then collaborate with others to scale up effective measures that have a broad and lasting impact.
The announcement of the National Skills Program is coupled with the release of a report titled Building Australia’s future-ready workforce, which includes recommendations on how Australia can prepare for a digital future by helping those already working in traditional jobs transition to more tech-powered roles.
Microsoft believes that equipping the nation to succeed in the digital age – and ensuring all Australians benefit from it – must be an urgent national priority if Australia is to remain competitive and maintain its record-breaking 26 years of economic growth.
The report outlines the key areas which must be addressed if Australia is to prepare its workforce for and reap the benefits of a digital future. Key recommendations include:
- Encouraging employers to participate in preparing their workforces for the digital era, including changing career pathways and hiring practices
- Auditing current skill levels and creating large-scale databases to better understand current and future skills requirements
- Expanding digital literacy by introducing tools to help individuals assess their own skill levels and offering greater support for digital literacy programs
It is going to take a collective effort to ensure that no Australians get left behind as we transform our economy for the digital age. We each need to play our part in both shaping and building Australia’s future-ready workforce.