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Technology-driven change for skills

Technology-driven change for skills
Ian Hamilton, Head of HR for Cisco APJC, on the role of the education sector in equipping the workforce and plugging skills gap in the digital economy.
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Technology-driven change for skills

Ian Hamilton
Cisco, Asia Pacific, Japan & Greater China
Senior Director & Head of Human Resources

October 09, 2018
  • Press Release

  • 724

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  • Technology, Innovation, Thought Leadership, Digitization

Digital Disruption

There is no doubt that the pace of change is accelerating as technology innovation cycles continue to move more rapidly. The shift to digital is disrupting all facets of our lives, and the workplace and our education systems are feeling the effects, creating both challenges and opportunities for training institutions.

While innovation, entrepreneurship and digital skills are becoming the currency of this new digital age, individuals remain at the centre of this broader change, to be able to adapt and realise the benefits of the global economy. Training institutions also realise that innovation and digital literacy are two of the most powerful levers to effect change, improve employment opportunities and outcomes.

There has never been a more urgent need for digitisation that drives efficiencies through better infrastructure utilisation, better learning outcomes and more effective collaboration with industry.

Digital Readiness Supported by a Digital Workforce with Industry-oriented Skillsets

In a recent research conducted by Cisco and Gartner, countries were scored on a Digital Readiness Index based on seven factors that contribute to an overall digital readiness score, which includes human capital. The research found that Australia now sits at the forefront of digitally transformed nations with a score of 17.34 out of a possible 25, and is placed amongst global leaders including the United States of America and European Nations.

Key recommendations for Australia to retain its position at the digital ‘top table’ include:

-- investment in vocational education with a focus on digital skills and knowledge,

-- increasing interaction between industry and academia to find new ways to bring innovations to market quickly, and

-- retraining the existing workforce so that workers in sectors that are being impacted by digitisation receive the training necessary to adapt to this change.

Industry data show that 75% of future jobs will require STEM skills in the next 10 years and 90% of the workforce will require digital literacy knowledge in the next five years.

Some of the important skills that are emerging the age of digital disruption include analysis, design, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and making meaning out of content—in short, skills that are more difficult to replace by automation. These skills must be taught in learning systems to keep learning relevant and position students to be career ready to enter the workforce.

To help support the workforce of the future, Cisco’s Networking Academy (NetAcad) is committed to inspiring, supporting and training the next generation. We actively promote STEM subjects in schools and encourage students to consider careers in technology through the Cisco NetAcad program. With many industries globally experiencing a shortage of IT talent, Cisco NetAcad provides students with in-demand skills to support a trained workforce to power the digital economy, including technical skills for cybersecurity and data security, for which the growth of the industry is surpassing the skills available, according to a recent IDC report, “Most Significant IT Roles You Should Consider in Australia”.

Preparing for the Skills Future, Now

I recently attended the 2018 World Congress hosted by the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) and participated in a panel discussion on “Digital-driven change for skills” which explored the challenges around meeting the future skills gaps and the rising importance of training organisations in the digital economy.

The career and technical education sector has a crucial role to play in ensuring that the workforce is equipped with the skills and knowledge to meet job requirements, which are evolving to meet the needs of a booming digital economy. In order to capture opportunities from digital disruption, training institutions have to address the skills gap of the current workforce and equip students with the skills to thrive in the future.

Credentials from vocational and technical training institutes are vital right now to help fill gaps in the workforce. To further bridge the skills gap, engagement between industry and education should be increased, with curriculum revamped to be more industry-oriented.

The increasing use of technology and disruption is creating new jobs that require an evolving set of skills in every sector. Private and public sectors must therefore work together to implement policies that will prepare the next generation for jobs of the future, and help the current and future workforce transition to new job environments, ahead of a digital future.

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