Discussion Paper

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1.1 What key issues would need to be taken into account by a nationally agreed digital skills taxonomy?

2. TEACHING AND LEARNING

The current situation

Digital technology is not only transforming workplaces, it is also transforming the way education and training is delivered. Technology-assisted distance learning has been a feature of the tertiary education landscape for some time and in the current COVID-19 situation such delivery approaches have become essential. However, new technologies such as Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence are taking online learning to new levels, as well as enhancing the delivery of face-to-face learning.

The application of such technology offers significant potential for broadening the reach of existing education and training courses, as well as improving teaching practice in both online and face-to-face environments.  Done well, it can also remove some of the key barriers faced by existing workers when looking to upskill, such as, training at a time and pace of their choosing.  However, there are many challenges associated with implementation of new technologies.

A recent review of online VET learning in Australia found that it has higher subject withdrawal rates and lower course completion rates than for other modes of delivery.  Although the pandemic has resulted in many training providers quickly moving traditional face-to-face training online, it will be sometime before national VET data collections evidence the effect of this rapid shift on completion rates and learner satisfaction levels.  

Harnessing technology can also be expensive – not only in terms of the initial investment, but also the cost of ongoing maintenance and updating, and the upskilling of practitioners to use it. Use of technology for teaching and learning can also be hampered by software and hardware limitations, and lack of access to reliable internet connections. There are also concerns about the quality and validity of online learning and assessment activities.

Digital transformation and innovation in teaching and learning

Education and training has regularly been ranked as one of Australia’s top five export industries.  Domestically, VET trains the future workforce of many industries and will need to play an ever-increasing role in upskilling and reskilling existing workers as digital transformation makes lifelong learning a necessity.  In the immediate future, VET will be central to reskilling an increasing number of individuals as they become detached from the workforce as a consequence of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Many industries central to the economy and/or where new technologies are transforming their core business, are the subject of high investment, applied research and innovation programs that seek to power innovation and new practice. 

Putting in place digital capability frameworks for VET practitioners and providers could be the first step in guiding and lifting digital capability of the VET workforce.  However, such frameworks derive their real value and momentum for change when underpinned by a dedicated and long-term program of innovation and applied research into virtual learning and assessment. 

Cooperative Research Centres (Aus), Fraunhofer Institutes (Germany) and Catapult Centres (UK) all offer examples of shared investment-type models that could be viable with the right settings.  The value of such an approach would rely on extension and adoption activities so that the Australian VET sector benefits as a whole and passes on those benefits of learner-centred training to the individual leaners.  In sharing new practice and technologies with the higher education and school sectors, it could also help build seamless learning pathways.

Digital capability of VET practitioners

To support the process of digital transformation of workplaces, trainers and training organisations need the capability to not only understand and train learners in the necessary digital and soft skills for their industry, but increasingly, to be able to design digital learning content, curate learning resources, and facilitate learning and conduct assessment using the digital technologies. 

While not all VET practitioners will be required to be digital experts, a minimum level of digital competence will be required as learners themselves bring with them ever-increasing levels of digital literacy and expectations of use of current technology in education and training.  Ongoing professional development in digital skills will be an inevitable necessity for the vast majority of VET practitioners, but it has been a decade since a large-scale, national professional development program existed for the sector and VET has yet to enjoy the equivalent of a national centre of excellence for VET practitioners.

The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment work together to set the requirements for individual practitioner capability and vocational currency. Currently though, there is no underpinning framework to help VET practitioners identify and build the necessary digital capabilities for an educational context.

The European Union has developed a Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu) and a Framework for Digitally-Competent Educational Organisations (DigCompOrg) to complement the implementation of its Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp 2.1).  Adopted and adapted by several countries, they emphasise the need for leadership of the training organisation in partnership with and support of the individual practitioner.

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Australian VET practitioners and Registered Training Organisations are leaders in the innovation and application of digital pedagogy and the delivery of digital and soft skills

This may involve:

  1. Driving innovation and applied research in digital teaching, learning and assessment and supporting its extension and adoption across the entire VET sector
  2. Building the capability of the whole VET sector in digital pedagogy and the delivery of digital and soft skills.

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000
There are no mandatory questions in this section

1. TRAINING PRODUCTS

The current situation

The increasing demand for and growing importance of digital skills is well documented in Australian and international research, in the review of the Australian Qualifications Framework and the Expert Review of Australia’s VET system (the ‘Joyce Review’) and throughout the Skills Forecasts prepared by Industry Reference Committees, which drive national training product development.

Across this literature is a recognition that whilst digital skills and soft skills are broadly captured in existing training products, digital transformation is significantly elevating the importance of both types of skills. There is increasing pressure for them to be made more explicit, current and relevant and for the relationships between these skills to be made clearer.  

Visibility of digital skills and soft skills

Within Australia, Training Packages are developed by industry through a process of national consultation and validation.  The skills and knowledge needed by learners to perform a job in the workplace are codified into units of competency and packaged into qualifications or Skill Sets.  Importantly, Training Packages do not specify how to train learners. It is the role of expert VET practitioners to support learners to gain these skills and knowledge in a way that suits different ways of learning and different learning environments. 

In terms of digital skills, research from Australia and overseas typically groups these into three areas:

  • Digital literacy skills – which comprise the essential skills needed by everyone to enable citizenship, social inclusion and economic participation in a digital society
  • General digital skills – which are needed across the broad workforce to enable effective work in a digital economy
  • Advanced digital skills – which are the specific skills needed by ICT professionals, technicians and managers working with information technology systems, hardware and software.

Some of these skills are explicitly captured in the Foundation Skills, ICT and Business Services Training Packages in the form of stand-alone units of competency, Skill Sets and full qualifications. However, in the majority of Training Packages, digital skills are typically embedded in units of competency and described in broad terms such as ‘record’, ‘analyse’ or ‘use data’.  It is the responsibility of individual VET practitioners to interpret those terms to reflect current technology.

The use of broad terminology is a means of futureproofing units of competency and ensuring relevance across a broad range of workplaces. However, this premise only works as intended if VET practitioners have sufficient vocational currency, as is required by the Standards for Registered Training Organisations.  The alternative of creating greater specificity in units of competency, particularly in relation to digital skills, can create significant ‘churn’ in the system as technologies rapidly evolve and require the system to frequently release updated or new units of competency.   Specificity can also narrow the applicability of units of competency to different business types and scales of operation.

When it comes to soft skills, these are typically included in qualifications and units of competency in quite implicit ways. This can create challenges for practitioners in identifying, training and assessing soft skills, particularly as they are notoriously hard to teach.

Amongst soft skills, the ability to learn is being highlighted in the literature as an essential competency for workers to adapt to digital transformation, along with high level problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration skills.

Outside of Training Packages, there are other training products through which digital and soft skills are being, or could be, made visible. Within the VET system, a number of accredited courses exist for skills not captured in a Training Package.  Outside of the VET system, vendor certification issued by software and hardware developers plays an important role in building the digital skills of ICT professionals. The recent Australian Qualifications Framework review also paves the way for a focus on micro-credentials, which are likely to be an important vehicle for lifelong learning of existing workers, building upon entry level qualifications.   

Underpinning frameworks

Within Australia, there are a number of underpinning frameworks that capture digital skills and soft skills to varying levels of proficiency.  For example:

  • the recently released Digital Literacy Skills Framework articulates foundational digital skills and has been developed as a sixth core skill to sit alongside the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF), which encompasses the foundation skills of Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication and Numeracy
  • the Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (CSfW), which comprises a set of non-technical skills, knowledge and understandings that underpin successful participation in work, includes Work in a Digital World as one of its ten skill areas, describing digital skills for the general workforce.

Internationally, there are 20+ standalone frameworks which articulate digital skills.  One of the most comprehensive and encompassing is the European Digital Competence Framework known as ‘DigComp’. The framework, which has been adopted and adapted by several European countries, comprises eight proficiency levels – from ‘foundation’ through to ‘highly specialised’.

Australia has no single nationally agreed taxonomy or framework for how digital skills should be described across the population. There is no means of understanding how digital skills and proficiency levels relate to each other and how they intersect across VET and school or higher education contexts. Neither is there a single mechanism for providing up-to-date information about digital technologies that can guide training product development and delivery and enable a coherent and agile training response to building digital skills across the entire workforce.

An agreed framework of some kind could provide a common language for different stakeholders to use (for example for employers to talk to training providers or employee/potential employees) and a means of mapping the intersections between VET, school and higher education. A framework could also support lifelong learning by providing a consistent means of identifying and categorising the various types of formal, non-formal and informal learning options on offer (for example AQF qualifications and vendor certifications) and could provide a basis for linking learning to career and workforce development initiatives.

A framework would also help to ensure that efforts are focused on meeting demands for all three types of digital skills. Currently in Australia, there is significant focus on foundational digital skills (for example, the Australian Government has committed $52.5 million to support employed or recently unemployed Australians to develop their language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills). The advanced digital skills needed for specific ICT applications and occupations are also receiving considerable attention, for example, through the pilot Digital Skills Organisation. However, the general digital skills needed across the whole workforce and the soft skills needed to navigate the digital transformation of workplaces are less understood, less articulated and receive less attention in training product development and delivery.

Responsiveness of Training Packages

Long-established national Training Package policy requires that units of competency, qualifications and Skill Sets undergo extensive industry consultation and validation throughout Australia before being submitted for endorsement.  Once a Training Package is endorsed, each State and Territory applies its own administrative processes, which can include planning and purchasing of publicly funded training places.  Individual Registered Training Organisations then have their own administrative, compliance, resourcing and marketing arrangements to manage.  This means that the speed-to-market of new or reviewed nationally agreed Training Package involves many parties and can take considerable time.  For many clients of the VET system, this development process is little understood and can be seen as too slow and unresponsive, particularly in industries with rapidly evolving technologies. 

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Future-focused, nationally endorsed qualifications, skills sets and micro-credentials build existing workers’ agility to adapt to the digital transformation of Australian industry

This may involve:

  1. Establishing a comprehensive and encompassing, future-focused framework for digital skills and soft skills which sits at all skill levels, and includes an agreed digital skills taxonomy
  2. Developing updated or new training products that explicitly address the soft skills and range of foundational, general and advanced digital skills needed to rapidly upskill and reskill the existing workforce.

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000
There are no mandatory questions in this section

About this paper

About the Expert Panel and Skills Strategy

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has established the Digital Transformation Expert Panel to:

 ‘… provide advice on how Australia’s VET system can most effectively respond to digital change underway across industry and its impact on the nation’s workforce’.

The Panel has approached this work through the lens of the existing workforce and its need to upskill and reskill in response to the digital transformation of industry.

The Panel’s work is divided into two phases.  The first involved a suite of research and analysis activities that included looking at how leading economies and their training systems are approaching the same challenge.  The second phase is currently underway and involves consultation and engagement with a wide range of bodies in Australia and circulation of a discussion paper for public comment. 

The Panel will submit its Digital Transformation Skills Strategy to the AISC for consideration at the end of 2020.

Purpose and structure of the paper

This paper is designed to give stakeholders the opportunity to provide their views and insights into five key areas of focus identified by the Panel:

  1. Training products
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Learner support mechanisms
  4. Industry leadership
  5. System settings

It is structured so that you can respond to any or all of the five areas as relevant to your area of expertise.  Within each of the five sections, you can also choose to answer one or more of the questions.

Important definitions

Terminology in vocational education and training can be confusing and often means different things to different people.  This is what we mean when we use these terms:

·         Upskilling – gaining of new skills to use in a current role

·         Reskilling – gaining of new skills to enable transition to a different role

·         Pedagogy – the theory and practice of learner-centred teaching and learning sometimes referred to as ‘vocational pedagogy’ or ‘VET pedagogy’

·         Learning skills – essential soft skills needed for successful learning

·         Digital literacy skills – the essential skills needed by all members of digital societies to enable citizenship, social inclusion and economic participation in a digital society

·         General digital skills – the skills needed across the broad workforce to enable effective work in a digital economy

·         Advanced digital skills – the skills needed by digitally intensive industries and used by ICT professionals, technicians and managers working with information technology systems, hardware and software

·         Soft skills – skills that rely on social, creative and critical intelligence, for example, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and which increase in value when used in combination

·         Vocational education and training or VET – the system that prepares learners to join/re-join the workforce or upskill/reskill in response to the evolution of skills and knowledge in the workplace.

 

Important information on how to respond

  • Deadline – All responses must be received by xxx October 2020.
  • Where to submit – your response must be submitted using the online template at XXXX.com.au
  • Information we require – you will be asked to provide:
    • contact name
    • email address
    • name of the organisation (where relevant)

Context

Jobs remain the cornerstone of our economic and social lives; they give us dignity, an income and the chance to be part of something larger than ourselves. 

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming industries, job roles and individual tasks.  With the global pandemic only serving to accelerate these trends, how we work, when we work and where we work are all being disrupted.  However, the harsh reality we now face is that with every step forward enabled by technology, we risk leaving behind those workers without the requisite skills to engage in our digital future. 

For many, digital transformation is synonymous with the adoption of digital skills.  And that’s clearly true.  But it’s vital for us all to understand that workers’ ability to adapt to the effects of digital transformation will also demand stronger, higher level soft skills. 

As technologies replace those jobs and routine functions that can be codified into an algorithm, it will be our intrinsically-human soft skills and their inter-relationships that will be the hardest to replicate.  A new age of ‘human only’ work is beginning.

How vocational training systems can transform themselves into agile learning ecosystems expert at supporting the existing workforce is an issue being explored by many nations. Within Australia, our VET system has an enormous and pivotal role to play in helping our workforce upskill and reskill and in supporting all of us through a journey of lifelong learning.

1.2 What key issues would need to be considered by a future-focussed framework for digital skills and soft skills at all skill levels with the goal of supporting: self-evaluation; planning and design of training products; building pathways between VET, school and higher education sectors?
1.3 How should digital skills be expressed in training products so that they are broad enough to be relevant across industry and prevent ‘churn’ in the VET system but be specific enough to give VET practitioners sufficient information for their delivery? What additional mechanisms might help training products to keep pace with the rate of change in relation to digital technology and skills, for example, Skill Sets, micro-credentials, ‘live’ support materials?
1.4 How can higher level soft skills that are in increasingly important to existing workers’ future resilience be made more explicit in national training products?
1.5 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘training products’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?
1.5 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘training products’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?1.5 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘training products’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?

2.1 Given Vocational Education and Training is an industry in its own right, and plays a pivotal role in building the skill base of other industries, how could Australia establish a dedicated program of world class innovation and applied research into digital pedagogy? How could successful innovation in digital pedagogy be most effectively extended across the full VET sector?

2.2 How might a national professional development program build the capability of the entire VET workforce in relation to both digital pedagogy and digital transformation?  Would existing capability frameworks (such as DigCompEdu and DigCompOrg) be of use?

2.3 What are the key practitioner capabilities that need to be built in relation to delivery of digital skills and soft skills?

2.4 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘teaching and learning’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation? 

3. LEARNER SUPPORT MECHANISMS

The current situation

Digital transformation is driving not only the need for new skills and new combinations of skills, but also the need for continuing development of skills to keep pace with the rate of transformation. As stated in numerous reports, those who do not develop the digital and soft skills needed to adapt to the impact of digital transformation are at risk of unemployment, underemployment and lower earning prospects.

Existing workers – especially those whose jobs are being significantly impacted by automation and digitalisation – will need to engage in upskilling (developing additional skills to use in a current role or field) and reskilling (developing new skills to enable a transition to a different role or field).  Digital transformation and the continuing changes to the world of work that technology will drive, is the ultimate catalyst for nations committing to formal policies of lifelong learning.

The challenge, however, is that many adults face individual and systemic barriers to learning resulting from personal/organisational circumstances, attitudes to learning such as fear and low motivation, lack of information and lack of suitable learning options. In addition, many workplaces are not adequately equipped to engage in or support upskilling and reskilling of their workforce (this issue is discussed further in Topic 4).

If efforts to upskill and reskill the existing workforce are to be effective, support measures will need to be in place to address these barriers.

Provision of support

Traditional forms of support are built into Australia’s current VET system in a number of ways, such as language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) assessment and support, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment, government-funding for particular qualifications and access to VET Student Loans. However, most of these measures are predominantly focused on supporting learners during training.  Countries that lead the way in lifelong learning place equal effort on supporting existing workers prior to engaging in training and after completing training.  

For example:

  • France has legislated the right of every individual to information, advice and career guidance support. Individuals can access free and personalised services that analyse existing skills and experience, develop a personalised professional plan (including recommended training) and provide support to implement the plan.[1]
  • Iceland has established lifelong learning centres throughout the country, which engage highly qualified guidance counsellors (typically with a diploma or master’s degree in education and vocational counselling) to provide education and career counselling to adults[2]
  • Finland is developing an online, virtual assistant (called Aurora) to deliver skills advice and services tailored to citizens’ needs. Through Aurora, “individuals will be able to monitor the relevance of their skills, when these need updating, and receive support to apply for jobs.”[3] This aspect of the platform is “aimed at keeping citizens in work during periods of labour market turmoil. It will use an algorithm to predict when users’ skills are likely to become outdated and suggest routes to more sustainable employment.”[4]

Pre-training support plays a critical role in addressing several of the barriers faced by existing workers, including the less tangible but defining factors of motivation and fear.  Support services at this pre-training/contemplation stage include the independent assessment of skills (not to be confused with RPL), help with practical barriers, personal career support and identification of gap training.  Support at this point also plays a critical role in helping existing workers understand how digital transformation is changing their specific industry and the implications for their own skills base and job role.

Supporting existing workers post-training is about enabling individuals to optimise their newly acquired skills in their existing job or in their new role and building on the motivation and momentum of successful learning.  Far from being the final step, post-training support is actually the first step in the journey of lifelong learning. Initiatives such as South Australia’s Learner Support Services are building in this type of post-training support into their VET programs.[5]

Recent Australian and international research points to seven types of support that can help to address the barriers that adults face to upskilling and reskilling (see Table 1).

Table 1. Types of support to address barriers to upskilling and reskilling

Types of support

What this might look like

When this type of support is needed

Pre-training

During training

Post-training

1.    Financial support

For example, loans and subsidies for course fees, support to cover student fees, books and materials, travel or childcare costs, paid training leave or tax incentives

     

2.    Learning support

For example, foundation skills and learning skills support, assistive technology and mentoring and support to address personal circumstances

     

3.    Workplace support

For example, increasing the availability of training opportunities and highlighting the value of training for workers, providing flexible working arrangements, recognising soft skills in recruitment and performance management processes

     

4.    Individual career development support

For example, making individual career education and career advice services available to adults at any point in their working life (especially for those whose jobs are at risk), and promoting the value of adults having the skills to reflect on and manage their own career and learning paths  

     

5.    Career and training information

For example, providing information about career and training pathways in formats suitable for existing workers, and providing the right kind of information at different stages in the decision-making process, including information that challenges mindsets about lifelong learning

     

6.    Skills assessment (including Recognition of Prior Learning)

For example, provision of quality RPL services and other skills assessment services that enable adults to reflect on and identify their capabilities, promote their skills and competences, identify areas for further training and match their capabilities with labour market needs

     

7.    Flexible training options that suit the needs of existing worker learners

For example, provision of training options that are suited to the needs of adults with work and home commitments, use of micro-learning and credentialing, and use of digital technology to enhance the flexibility and effectiveness of training for adult learners

     
Promotion of lifelong learning

Consultation with key stakeholders has highlighted the need for a national communication strategy on the importance of embracing lifelong learning and how to start on that journey.  Stakeholders stressed the need for consistency of messaging and a ‘single source of truth’, with delivery through ‘trusted intermediaries’ who are engaged to relay the messaging to their particular cohort or industry as part of a coordinated and contextualised campaign.  Such intermediaries were seen as being employer bodies, unions, support agencies and jurisdictional governments.

Stakeholders emphasised that messaging needs to be anchored in a deep understanding of the different attitudes, life stages, values and behaviours across existing workers and their employers; and that this segmentation is used to carefully craft messages and test them through focus groups.  

The National Careers Institute, working closely with the National Skills Commission, will provide individuals and organisations with accurate and up-to-date information on the labour market to inform people’s education, training and career choices.  Its digital platform, yourcareer.gov.au provides a careers front door to support individuals to understand how skills can be transferred into jobs in demand industries such as the care sector.

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Existing workers are set up for success and lifelong learning through individualised, high quality support services

This may involve:

  • Developing and implementing a nationally agreed approach to learner support for existing workers pre, during and after training
  • Implementing a national, user-tested campaign to influence existing worker and employer attitudes towards VET and lifelong learning

[1] OECD (2019), Getting Skills Right: Creating responsive adult learning systems. Available online at http://www.oecd.org/employment/emp/adult-learning-systems-2019.pdf p10

[2] OECD (2019), Getting Skills Right: Engaging low-skilled adults in learning. Available online at www.oecd.org/employment/emp/engaging-low-skilled-adults-2019.pdf p8

[3] NESTA (2019) Digital Frontrunners: Country Spotlights 2019. p21

[4] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/finland-is-building-a-robot-that-will-help-you-get-a-job

[5] https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Deliver/Learner-support-services

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000
There are no mandatory questions in this section
3.1 Some types of support (such as financial and learning support) are already key features of the Australian VET system. What are the barriers to providing other types of support to learners, particularly pre and post training?
3.2 What types of support are critical for the most vulnerable groups of workers, for example, those in occupations that are being significantly automated or augmented by technology, those without the necessary learning and literacy skills for upskilling and reskilling and those whose personal circumstances create significant barriers to learning?
3.3 What bodies are best placed to provide the different types of pre and post training support to existing workers?

3. LEARNER SUPPORT MECHANISMS

The current situation

Digital transformation is driving not only the need for new skills and new combinations of skills, but also the need for continuing development of skills to keep pace with the rate of transformation. As stated in numerous reports, those who do not develop the digital and soft skills needed to adapt to the impact of digital transformation are at risk of unemployment, underemployment and lower earning prospects.

Existing workers – especially those whose jobs are being significantly impacted by automation and digitalisation – will need to engage in upskilling (developing additional skills to use in a current role or field) and reskilling (developing new skills to enable a transition to a different role or field).  Digital transformation and the continuing changes to the world of work that technology will drive, is the ultimate catalyst for nations committing to formal policies of lifelong learning.

The challenge, however, is that many adults face individual and systemic barriers to learning resulting from personal/organisational circumstances, attitudes to learning such as fear and low motivation, lack of information and lack of suitable learning options. In addition, many workplaces are not adequately equipped to engage in or support upskilling and reskilling of their workforce (this issue is discussed further in Topic 4).

If efforts to upskill and reskill the existing workforce are to be effective, support measures will need to be in place to address these barriers.

Provision of support

Traditional forms of support are built into Australia’s current VET system in a number of ways, such as language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) assessment and support, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment, government-funding for particular qualifications and access to VET Student Loans. However, most of these measures are predominantly focused on supporting learners during training.  Countries that lead the way in lifelong learning place equal effort on supporting existing workers prior to engaging in training and after completing training.  

For example:

  • France has legislated the right of every individual to information, advice and career guidance support. Individuals can access free and personalised services that analyse existing skills and experience, develop a personalised professional plan (including recommended training) and provide support to implement the plan.[1]
  • Iceland has established lifelong learning centres throughout the country, which engage highly qualified guidance counsellors (typically with a diploma or master’s degree in education and vocational counselling) to provide education and career counselling to adults[2]
  • Finland is developing an online, virtual assistant (called Aurora) to deliver skills advice and services tailored to citizens’ needs. Through Aurora, “individuals will be able to monitor the relevance of their skills, when these need updating, and receive support to apply for jobs.”[3] This aspect of the platform is “aimed at keeping citizens in work during periods of labour market turmoil. It will use an algorithm to predict when users’ skills are likely to become outdated and suggest routes to more sustainable employment.”[4]

Pre-training support plays a critical role in addressing several of the barriers faced by existing workers, including the less tangible but defining factors of motivation and fear.  Support services at this pre-training/contemplation stage include the independent assessment of skills (not to be confused with RPL), help with practical barriers, personal career support and identification of gap training.  Support at this point also plays a critical role in helping existing workers understand how digital transformation is changing their specific industry and the implications for their own skills base and job role.

Supporting existing workers post-training is about enabling individuals to optimise their newly acquired skills in their existing job or in their new role and building on the motivation and momentum of successful learning.  Far from being the final step, post-training support is actually the first step in the journey of lifelong learning. Initiatives such as South Australia’s Learner Support Services are building in this type of post-training support into their VET programs.[5]

Recent Australian and international research points to seven types of support that can help to address the barriers that adults face to upskilling and reskilling (see Table 1).

 

Table 1. Types of support to address barriers to upskilling and reskilling

Types of support

What this might look like

When this type of support is needed

Pre-training

During training

Post-training

1.    Financial support

For example, loans and subsidies for course fees, support to cover student fees, books and materials, travel or childcare costs, paid training leave or tax incentives

 

ü

 

2.    Learning support

For example, foundation skills and learning skills support, assistive technology and mentoring and support to address personal circumstances

ü

ü

 

3.    Workplace support

For example, increasing the availability of training opportunities and highlighting the value of training for workers, providing flexible working arrangements, recognising soft skills in recruitment and performance management processes

ü

ü

ü

4.    Individual career development support

For example, making individual career education and career advice services available to adults at any point in their working life (especially for those whose jobs are at risk), and promoting the value of adults having the skills to reflect on and manage their own career and learning paths  

ü

 

ü

5.    Career and training information

For example, providing information about career and training pathways in formats suitable for existing workers, and providing the right kind of information at different stages in the decision-making process, including information that challenges mindsets about lifelong learning

ü

 

ü

6.    Skills assessment (including Recognition of Prior Learning)

For example, provision of quality RPL services and other skills assessment services that enable adults to reflect on and identify their capabilities, promote their skills and competences, identify areas for further training and match their capabilities with labour market needs

ü

 

 

7.    Flexible training options that suit the needs of existing worker learners

For example, provision of training options that are suited to the needs of adults with work and home commitments, use of micro-learning and credentialing, and use of digital technology to enhance the flexibility and effectiveness of training for adult learners

 

ü

 

 

Promotion of lifelong learning

Consultation with key stakeholders has highlighted the need for a national communication strategy on the importance of embracing lifelong learning and how to start on that journey.  Stakeholders stressed the need for consistency of messaging and a ‘single source of truth’, with delivery through ‘trusted intermediaries’ who are engaged to relay the messaging to their particular cohort or industry as part of a coordinated and contextualised campaign.  Such intermediaries were seen as being employer bodies, unions, support agencies and jurisdictional governments.

Stakeholders emphasised that messaging needs to be anchored in a deep understanding of the different attitudes, life stages, values and behaviours across existing workers and their employers; and that this segmentation is used to carefully craft messages and test them through focus groups.  

The National Careers Institute, working closely with the National Skills Commission, will provide individuals and organisations with accurate and up-to-date information on the labour market to inform people’s education, training and career choices.  Its digital platform, yourcareer.gov.au provides a careers front door to support individuals to understand how skills can be transferred into jobs in demand industries such as the care sector.

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Existing workers are set up for success and lifelong learning through individualised, high quality support services

This may involve:

  • Developing and implementing a nationally agreed approach to learner support for existing workers pre, during and after training
  • Implementing a national, user-tested campaign to influence existing worker and employer attitudes towards VET and lifelong learning

[1] OECD (2019), Getting Skills Right: Creating responsive adult learning systems. Available online at http://www.oecd.org/employment/emp/adult-learning-systems-2019.pdf p10

[2] OECD (2019), Getting Skills Right: Engaging low-skilled adults in learning. Available online at www.oecd.org/employment/emp/engaging-low-skilled-adults-2019.pdf p8

[3] NESTA (2019) Digital Frontrunners: Country Spotlights 2019. p21

[4] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/finland-is-building-a-robot-that-will-help-you-get-a-job

[5] https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Deliver/Learner-support-services

2. TEACHING AND LEARNING

The current situation

Digital technology is not only transforming workplaces, it is also transforming the way education and training is delivered. Technology-assisted distance learning has been a feature of the tertiary education landscape for some time and in the current COVID-19 situation such delivery approaches have become essential. However, new technologies such as Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence are taking online learning to new levels, as well as enhancing the delivery of face-to-face learning.

The application of such technology offers significant potential for broadening the reach of existing education and training courses, as well as improving teaching practice in both online and face-to-face environments.  Done well, it can also remove some of the key barriers faced by existing workers when looking to upskill, such as, training at a time and pace of their choosing.  However, there are many challenges associated with implementation of new technologies.

A recent review of online VET learning in Australia found that it has higher subject withdrawal rates and lower course completion rates than for other modes of delivery.  Although the pandemic has resulted in many training providers quickly moving traditional face-to-face training online, it will be sometime before national VET data collections evidence the effect of this rapid shift on completion rates and learner satisfaction levels.  

Harnessing technology can also be expensive – not only in terms of the initial investment, but also the cost of ongoing maintenance and updating, and the upskilling of practitioners to use it. Use of technology for teaching and learning can also be hampered by software and hardware limitations, and lack of access to reliable internet connections. There are also concerns about the quality and validity of online learning and assessment activities.

Digital transformation and innovation in teaching and learning

Education and training has regularly been ranked as one of Australia’s top five export industries.  Domestically, VET trains the future workforce of many industries and will need to play an ever-increasing role in upskilling and reskilling existing workers as digital transformation makes lifelong learning a necessity.  In the immediate future, VET will be central to reskilling an increasing number of individuals as they become detached from the workforce as a consequence of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Many industries central to the economy and/or where new technologies are transforming their core business, are the subject of high investment, applied research and innovation programs that seek to power innovation and new practice. 

Putting in place digital capability frameworks for VET practitioners and providers could be the first step in guiding and lifting digital capability of the VET workforce.  However, such frameworks derive their real value and momentum for change when underpinned by a dedicated and long-term program of innovation and applied research into virtual learning and assessment. 

Cooperative Research Centres (Aus), Fraunhofer Institutes (Germany) and Catapult Centres (UK) all offer examples of shared investment-type models that could be viable with the right settings.  The value of such an approach would rely on extension and adoption activities so that the Australian VET sector benefits as a whole and passes on those benefits of learner-centred training to the individual leaners.  In sharing new practice and technologies with the higher education and school sectors, it could also help build seamless learning pathways.

Digital capability of VET practitioners

To support the process of digital transformation of workplaces, trainers and training organisations need the capability to not only understand and train learners in the necessary digital and soft skills for their industry, but increasingly, to be able to design digital learning content, curate learning resources, and facilitate learning and conduct assessment using the digital technologies. 

While not all VET practitioners will be required to be digital experts, a minimum level of digital competence will be required as learners themselves bring with them ever-increasing levels of digital literacy and expectations of use of current technology in education and training.  Ongoing professional development in digital skills will be an inevitable necessity for the vast majority of VET practitioners, but it has been a decade since a large-scale, national professional development program existed for the sector and VET has yet to enjoy the equivalent of a national centre of excellence for VET practitioners.

The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment work together to set the requirements for individual practitioner capability and vocational currency. Currently though, there is no underpinning framework to help VET practitioners identify and build the necessary digital capabilities for an educational context.

The European Union has developed a Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu) and a Framework for Digitally-Competent Educational Organisations (DigCompOrg) to complement the implementation of its Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp 2.1).  Adopted and adapted by several countries, they emphasise the need for leadership of the training organisation in partnership with and support of the individual practitioner.

 

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Australian VET practitioners and Registered Training Organisations are leaders in the innovation and application of digital pedagogy and the delivery of digital and soft skills

 

This may involve:

  1. Driving innovation and applied research in digital teaching, learning and assessment and supporting its extension and adoption across the entire VET sector
  2. Building the capability of the whole VET sector in digital pedagogy and the delivery of digital and soft skills.

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000
3.4 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘learner support mechanisms’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?
3.4 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘learner support mechanisms’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?3.4 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘learner support mechanisms’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?

4. INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

The current situation

Feedback from the consultation phase of the Expert Panel’s work has identified industry leadership as a critical element of the Digital Transformation Skills Strategy.  Informants have stressed that without widespread industry leadership, the scale of upskilling and reskilling required to meet the demands of digital transformation will not be possible. Research has also highlighted that industry holds considerable power to positively or negatively influence existing workers to engage in upskilling and reskilling.

Leadership is needed at both the broad industry level and within the individual workplace. At the industry level, bipartite leadership is needed, with both industry peak bodies and unions working collaboratively to positively influence workplaces and workers and to increase awareness of the need for and value of upskilling and reskilling to keep pace with digital transformation.

This will require a sophisticated approach to influencing workplace culture, with different messages and messengers used to connect with the values and motivations of different audiences. Different information and advice will also be needed at different stages of employers’ and workers’ decision-making processes in relation to training.  

At the workplace level, research shows that leaders can play an important role in influencing worker engagement in training through supportive arrangements (such as flexible working or training leave) and the creation of a culture that recognises, rewards and encourages lifelong learning.

“As adults contemplate their learning, employers can be influential advocates, or powerful opponents to their decision to pursue learning. A perceived lack of employer support or flexibility will often be the greatest barrier to learning for adults who work, as they feel unable to juggle work, life and studying responsibilities”[1]

However, many employers and enterprises themselves need support to understand the role and value of training as part of digital transformation, particularly in navigating the complexities of the VET system and to implement effective workforce development.

Trying to find high quality training providers and relevant training programs can be confusing and complex for both enterprises and individuals, particularly as there is a lack of user-generated consumer information to drive decision-making.

Past workforce development programs have shown that the use of ‘trusted, independent intermediaries’ are an essential component of helping employers understand how to identify workforce skill needs, select the most appropriate training product and navigate the VET system to find and negotiate with the most suitable training organisation.  

Changing attitudes and behaviours towards the role and value of skills is a long-term proposition. Discrete national programs aimed at supporting workforce development and upskilling existing workers have typically been limited to budgetary periods.  Whilst many of the results from these programs have been compelling, particularly those involving shared investment, the relatively narrow window for involvement makes it difficult for enterprises to plan for workforce development and for industry to drive long-term cultural change.

The National Careers Institute working closely with the National Skills Commission also aims to support proactive workforce planning with a strong focus on creating career pathways that promote upskilling and reskilling, particularly in industries that will experience increasing task change due to automation and digital disruption.

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Employers are committed to building the skills of their workforce through a culture of lifelong learning and use of Australia’s VET system

This may involve:

  • Creating an industry culture of lifelong learning built upon shared investment in the workforce by Government, industry and employers and the provision of independent support and advice for employers to navigate the VET system
  • Implementing a national, user-focused strategy to influence workplace attitudes towards VET and lifelong learning, making use of trusted intermediaries such as industry bodies and unions
  • Developing and implementing a mechanism for the identification of high quality, user-focussed training organisations that can provide effective training experiences for existing workers.

[1] Kantar Public and Learning and Work Institute (2018) Decisions of adult learners. Department for Education, UK. p34

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000
There are no mandatory questions in this section

4. INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

The current situation

Feedback from the consultation phase of the Expert Panel’s work has identified industry leadership as a critical element of the Digital Transformation Skills Strategy.  Informants have stressed that without widespread industry leadership, the scale of upskilling and reskilling required to meet the demands of digital transformation will not be possible. Research has also highlighted that industry holds considerable power to positively or negatively influence existing workers to engage in upskilling and reskilling.

Leadership is needed at both the broad industry level and within the individual workplace. At the industry level, bipartite leadership is needed, with both industry peak bodies and unions working collaboratively to positively influence workplaces and workers and to increase awareness of the need for and value of upskilling and reskilling to keep pace with digital transformation.

This will require a sophisticated approach to influencing workplace culture, with different messages and messengers used to connect with the values and motivations of different audiences. Different information and advice will also be needed at different stages of employers’ and workers’ decision-making processes in relation to training.  

At the workplace level, research shows that leaders can play an important role in influencing worker engagement in training through supportive arrangements (such as flexible working or training leave) and the creation of a culture that recognises, rewards and encourages lifelong learning.

“As adults contemplate their learning, employers can be influential advocates, or powerful opponents to their decision to pursue learning. A perceived lack of employer support or flexibility will often be the greatest barrier to learning for adults who work, as they feel unable to juggle work, life and studying responsibilities”[1]

However, many employers and enterprises themselves need support to understand the role and value of training as part of digital transformation, particularly in navigating the complexities of the VET system and to implement effective workforce development.

Trying to find high quality training providers and relevant training programs can be confusing and complex for both enterprises and individuals, particularly as there is a lack of user-generated consumer information to drive decision-making.

Past workforce development programs have shown that the use of ‘trusted, independent intermediaries’ are an essential component of helping employers understand how to identify workforce skill needs, select the most appropriate training product and navigate the VET system to find and negotiate with the most suitable training organisation.  

Changing attitudes and behaviours towards the role and value of skills is a long-term proposition. Discrete national programs aimed at supporting workforce development and upskilling existing workers have typically been limited to budgetary periods.  Whilst many of the results from these programs have been compelling, particularly those involving shared investment, the relatively narrow window for involvement makes it difficult for enterprises to plan for workforce development and for industry to drive long-term cultural change.

The National Careers Institute working closely with the National Skills Commission also aims to support proactive workforce planning with a strong focus on creating career pathways that promote upskilling and reskilling, particularly in industries that will experience increasing task change due to automation and digital disruption.

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Employers are committed to building the skills of their workforce through a culture of lifelong learning and use of Australia’s VET system

This may involve:

  • Creating an industry culture of lifelong learning built upon shared investment in the workforce by Government, industry and employers and the provision of independent support and advice for employers to navigate the VET system
  • Implementing a national, user-focused strategy to influence workplace attitudes towards VET and lifelong learning, making use of trusted intermediaries such as industry bodies and unions
  • Developing and implementing a mechanism for the identification of high quality, user-focussed training organisations that can provide effective training experiences for existing workers.

[1] Kantar Public and Learning and Work Institute (2018) Decisions of adult learners. Department for Education, UK. p34

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000

4. INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

The current situation

Feedback from the consultation phase of the Expert Panel’s work has identified industry leadership as a critical element of the Digital Transformation Skills Strategy.  Informants have stressed that without widespread industry leadership, the scale of upskilling and reskilling required to meet the demands of digital transformation will not be possible. Research has also highlighted that industry holds considerable power to positively or negatively influence existing workers to engage in upskilling and reskilling.

Leadership is needed at both the broad industry level and within the individual workplace. At the industry level, bipartite leadership is needed, with both industry peak bodies and unions working collaboratively to positively influence workplaces and workers and to increase awareness of the need for and value of upskilling and reskilling to keep pace with digital transformation.

This will require a sophisticated approach to influencing workplace culture, with different messages and messengers used to connect with the values and motivations of different audiences. Different information and advice will also be needed at different stages of employers’ and workers’ decision-making processes in relation to training.

At the workplace level, research shows that leaders can play an important role in influencing worker engagement in training through supportive arrangements (such as flexible working or training leave) and the creation of a culture that recognises, rewards and encourages lifelong learning.

“As adultss contemplate their learning, employers can be influential advocates, or powerful opponents to their decision to pursue learning. A perceived lack of employer support or flexibility will often be the greatest barrier to learning for adults who work, as they feel unable to juggle work, life and studying responsibilities”[1]

However, many employers and enterprises themselves need support to understand the role and value of training as part of digital transformation, particularly in navigating the complexities of the VET system and to implement effective workforce development.

Trying to find high quality training providers and relevant training programs can be confusing and complex for both enterprises and individuals, particularly as there is a lack of user-generated consumer information to drive decision-making.

Past workforce development programs have shown that the use of ‘trusted, independent intermediaries’ are an essential component of helping employers understand how to identify workforce skill needs, select the most appropriate training product and navigate the VET system to find and negotiate with the most suitable training organisation.  

Changing attitudes and behaviours towards the role and value of skills is a long-term proposition. Discrete national programs aimed at supporting workforce development and upskilling existing workers have typically been limited to budgetary periods.  Whilst many of the results from these programs have been compelling, particularly those involving shared investment, the relatively narrow window for involvement makes it difficult for enterprises to plan for workforce development and for industry to drive long-term cultural change.

The National Careers Institute working closely with the National Skills Commission also aims to support proactive workforce planning with a strong focus on creating career pathways that promote upskilling and reskilling, particularly in industries that will experience increasing task change due to automation and digital disruption.

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Employers are committed to building the skills of their workforce through a culture of lifelong learning and use of Australia’s VET system

This may involve:

  • Creating an industry culture of lifelong learning built upon shared investment in the workforce by Government, industry and employers and the provision of independent support and advice for employers to navigate the VET system
  • Implementing a national, user-focused strategy to influence workplace attitudes towards VET and lifelong learning, making use of trusted intermediaries such as industry bodies and unions
  • Developing and implementing a mechanism for the identification of high quality, user-focussed training organisations that can provide effective training experiences for existing workers.

[1] Kantar Public and Learning and Work Institute (2018) Decisions of adult learners. Department for Education, UK. p34

4.4 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘industry leadership’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation? 

5. SYSTEM SETTINGS

The current situation

Quantifying the impact of automation and digitalisation on existing jobs has been the subject of extensive speculation and much disagreement amongst researchers and academics worldwide.  However, even at the lowest estimates it is evident that:

  • the upskilling and reskilling effort needed to support the existing workforce will be significant and potentially beyond traditional resourcing models; and
  • as technologies continue to evolve and reach scale faster than ever before, formal adoption of coherent and overt lifelong learning policy is rapidly becoming commonplace.
Investment pool

In a bid to create a sustainable, inclusive lifelong learning model, many countries are now implementing mixed funding models based on shared investment and sharing of risk to grow the total investment pool.  The trend is to position lifelong learning as a new human right, underpinned by shared investment models such as:

  • Open source solutions initiated by Government (for example, Finland)
  • Public-private partnerships (for example, UK)
  • Individual learning schemes (for example, Singapore, France)
  • Tax incentives – for individuals and enterprises (for example, Canada)
  • Targeted shared-investment (for example, Australia)

A scan of Australian policies conducted for the Expert Panel found that although the importance of workforce digital skills is well acknowledged by all governments, there is no national policy specifically developed to establish and continue to grow the digital skills of the Australian workforce.  Whilst some contributory policies exist, there is no comprehensive national policy on lifelong learning in place that recognises digital transformation will be an ongoing journey for industry and Australia’s workforce. 

Efforts are being made to position Australia as a leading digital economy by 2030, respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and enhance coordination across government through the Australian Government Digital Technology Taskforce.  Ensuring Australia has the requisite digital capabilities and capacity will greatly contribute to the achievement of this goal. 

Jurisdictions have their own separate, and not always comparable policies that tend to focus on digital transformation from the perspective of the technologies and processes or the ICT workforce. Few explicitly focus on digital skills of the full workforce or provide direction on how these skills are to be developed. Rather, this aspect seems to be implied through references to the need for, and importance of, digital capabilities and skills in the workforce.

Skills forecasting

Challenges also exist in terms of capturing data on digital skills supply and future demand. For example, Industry Reference Committees are responsible for the VET system’s nationally endorsed Training Packages. They identify emerging skills gaps through Industry Skills Forecasts, but there is variation across the forecasts in how digital skills are described and measured.  

Concerns also exist with the increasingly popular use of online job advertisements as a data source for digital skills identification and gap analysis. Consultation feedback suggests that online job advertisements are typically aimed at ‘marketing the job/enterprise’ to potential applicants, and are selective in their emphasis, inclusion and articulation of digital skills requirements.

The new National Skills Commission is working to develop intelligence on Australia’s labour market, workforce changes and current and emerging skills needs. The Commission is aiming to drive long-term improvements across the skills system to bring together existing data and develop new capability in skills analysis. 

Innovation and adoption

Until recently, VET has been largely absent from the National Innovation and Science Agenda. As a result of significant lobbying, two recommendations were added to the Federal Parliament’s 2017 report, Innovation and Creativity — Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy. They were to expand the National Innovation and Science Agenda to include VET and to strengthen connections between VET and small and medium enterprises using elements of the Canadian Applied Research and Innovation Services model.

Adoption of innovative practice and new technologies by any industry typically triggers the need for new skills and knowledge in the workforce.  The delay or lag time in getting those skills into the workplace so that companies can optimise new technologies and lead global competitors, is where commercial advantage can be lost.  Formal and closer connection of VET to the innovation sector could help quicken digital transformation within all industries by building those necessary skills as part of a planned approach to innovation and extension activities. 

How might a Digital Transformation Skills Strategy help?

The Expert Panel has identified one of the possible goals of the strategy as:

Australia’s VET policy framework and investment approach make it attractive and easy for employers and existing workers to pursue and invest in lifelong learning

This may involve:

  • Growing the investment pool for upskilling and reskilling through shared investment approaches
  • Developing a whole of government, connected policy on upskilling and reskilling to support digital transformation or a discrete lifelong learning policy with a focus on the existing workforce
  • Building joined-up policy and practical collaboration between VET and the innovation and applied research sector to ensure we have the skilled workforce necessary for the adoption of new technologies
  • Developing and implementing a performance monitoring and reporting framework to capture VET effort in upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce
  • Developing and implementing a standardised, systematic approach to capture digital skills supply and demand across all sectors and digital skill levels.

Questions for discussion

Each answer has a character limit of 1000
There are no mandatory questions in this section
4.1 What are the most effective approaches for building employer and employee awareness of the need for and value of upskilling or reskilling in response the digital transformation of their own industry or job role?
1.1 What key issues would need to be taken into account by a nationally agreed digital skills taxonomy?1.1 What key issues would need to be taken into account by a nationally agreed <strong>digital skills taxonomy</strong>?

4.2 What information and support do employers and individuals need to make informed choices about upskilling and reskilling opportunities?

4.3 What bodies are best placed to help employers and workplaces to build a sustainable culture of lifelong learning?

1.3 How should digital skills be expressed in training products so that they are broad enough to be relevant across industry and prevent ‘churn’ in the VET system but be specific enough to give VET practitioners sufficient information for their delivery? What additional mechanisms might help training products to keep pace with the rate of change in relation to digital technology and skills, for example, Skill Sets, micro-credentials, ‘live’ support materials?1.3 How should digital skills be expressed in training products so that they are broad enough to be relevant across industry and prevent ‘churn’ in the VET system but be specific enough to give VET practitioners sufficient information for their delivery? What additional mechanisms might help training products to keep pace with the rate of change in relation to digital technology and skills, for example, Skill Sets, micro-credentials, ‘live’ support materials?
1.3 How should digital skills be expressed in training products so that they are broad enough to be relevant across industry and prevent ‘churn’ in the VET system but be specific enough to give VET practitioners sufficient information for their delivery? What additional mechanisms might help training products to keep pace with the rate of change in relation to digital technology and skills, for example, Skill Sets, micro-credentials, ‘live’ support materials?1.3 How should digital skills be expressed in training products so that they are broad enough to be relevant across industry and prevent ‘churn’ in the VET system but be specific enough to give VET practitioners sufficient information for their delivery? What additional mechanisms might help training products to keep pace with the rate of change in relation to digital technology and skills, for example, Skill Sets, micro-credentials, ‘live’ support materials?

5.1 How can Australia grow the total investment pool for upskilling and reskilling of existing workers?

5.2 In what ways could VET better connect with Australia’s innovation agenda to ensure we have the skilled workforce necessary for the adoption of new technologies and support the process of digital transformation across all industry sectors?

5.3 What are the most significant policy barriers to lifelong learning and the upskilling and reskilling of existing workers and how should they be addressed?

5.4 What possible models could provide a reliable means of capturing and validating data on digital skills supply and future demand?

5.5 How might the VET system most efficiently capture data on the VET sector’s contribution to upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce?

5.6 Are there any other critical issues in relation to ‘system settings’ that you believe need to be addressed to enable the VET system to support existing workers through the impact of digital transformation?

The feedback period on the Panel’s discussion paper has now closed.

The Digital Transformation Expert Panel would like to thank everyone who took time to provide a response.