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Digital skills key to economic recovery

Digital skills economic recovery
Data and digital skills are what employers are seeking most across a range of jobs, a report says. Photo: Getty
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Care, computing, cognitive abilities and communication are the skills to drive Australia’s economy forward.

From a National Skills Commission report examining current and emerging skills within the country, the ‘four Cs’ were found to be key abilities required in the coming years.

The commission says 150 occupations have a shortage of skilled workers nationally, with 57 in shortage having strong projected future demand for skilled workers.

The report also found the workforce’s continued shift towards services, technology advances, more automation and a need for post-school education and training are huge factors shaping industries.

National Skills commissioner Adam Boyton says data and digital skills are what employers are seeking most across a growing range of jobs.

“For instance, a decade ago, social media skills would not have been needed by a childcare centre or hotel manager,” he said.

“But today these roles increasingly require these skills.”

Other skills identified included caring skills to aid demographic change, communicative skills to collaborate across workplaces and cognitive abilities in areas computers cannot replace.

“The challenge is to shape Australia’s workforce to meet employers’ needs now, secure opportunities for Australian businesses to grow local jobs in the future and compete as a key player in the global economy,” Mr Boyton said.

The commission predicts in the next five years more than nine out of 10 jobs will require post-school qualifications.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert said the government’s skills reform programs were addressing the needs outlined in the report.

“We need to maintain a laser-like focus on ensuring our skills system can respond more quickly and more specifically to the needs of our industry – to your needs,” he said in an address to the Business Council of Australia on Tuesday.

“We are doing this through continuing work with the states and territories towards funding reform that will better link governments’ investment in training that meets our current and emerging workforce needs.”

He said record funding for skills and training had led to an “apprenticeship boom”, with more than 220,000 trade apprentices in training.

– AAP