Finance Work More than three million Australians considering changing careers post-coronavirus
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More than three million Australians considering changing careers post-coronavirus

Australians are learning new skills and thinking about swapping jobs. Photo: TND
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More than three million Australians are thinking about changing careers once the virus subsides, says ING bank.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) have considered learning new skills to insulate themselves from future economic upheaval, including those with jobs.

But roughly a third (32 per cent) believe it will be difficult to find new opportunities, and almost one in four (23 per cent) feel anxious about the thought of job hunting in today’s economic climate.

ING head of retail banking Melanie Evans said the pandemic has caused Australians to dream about a different life and consider whether their existing skills will always be needed.

There’s no denying Australians are nervous about what lies ahead, but our report reveals Aussies are being resourceful – using this time to plan for the future and upskill so they can move with the times,” she said.

As previously reported by The New Daily, governments have slashed the price of university short courses to help people learn new skills and move into in-demand roles, and private education providers and TAFEs have expanded their range of free online courses.

With Treasury boss Steven Kennedy warning 15 per cent of workers could already be without a job, and several surveys pointing to record falls in economic activity, economists have repeatedly stressed the need for greater investment in education and training.

They argue this is crucial to ensuring Australians have the skills necessary to thrive in the post-coronavirus economy.

For while the pandemic has hastened the digitisation of our economy, research suggests Australia suffers from a shortage of technology skills.

RMIT University found that almost nine in 10 of the 600 businesses it surveyed for its Learn. Work. Repeat report struggled to get the skills they need.

Fewer than half delivered training to their workforces, the report said, and 15 per cent had no plan whatsoever for filling their skills gap.

Meanwhile, Swinburne University has called for workplaces to become more like classrooms.

And the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has made similar pleas after discovering that 70 per cent of young people are learning skills that will be redundant by 2030.

Tech employers have complained of skills shortages. Photo: Getty

Generation Australia

A similar vein of thought encouraged global consultancy group McKinsey to set up not-for-profit Generation Australia in 2015.

GA provides free training courses to people who are not currently in full-time employment, education or training – with the aim of bridging the gap between education and employment.

To ensure students learn the skills most likely to land them a job, GA designs training courses in consultation with major employers which, together with government, help fund the organisation.

On May 19, it launched its latest training program – aimed at helping Australians learn the skills required to become a junior web developer.

The course was designed in concert with large tech employers MYOB,  REA Group and Telstra.

It will run five days a week and last for three months, with each participant guaranteed a job interview at the end of the program.

Generation Australia chief operations officer Malcolm Kinns told The New Daily successful applicants do not need prior experience and will be chosen according to the impact the course will have on their lives, their motivation, and their fit for the role and industry.

The first course will only take 50 participants, but GA has plans to accept three or four more groups of 50 before the end of year.

“The biggest thing is that the course very much prepares you for the role, as opposed to just the generic industry,” Mr Kinns said.

GA also runs a disability support worker training program that has  graduated two cohorts and opened up for a third.

The first group of 10 students had a 100 per cent graduation success rate, with seven finding jobs within months and the other three choosing not to seek employment due to pregnancy, illness or caring responsibilities.

Of the second group of 18 learners, 14 graduated and 100 per cent of those looking for work gained employment.