In Summary

  • Workforce rapidly changing meaning students and workers need new skills
  • Technological change continues to accelerate further ahead of society’s ability to adapt
  • Centre for the New Workforce exploring ways to prepare workers for the future of work 

There is no greater challenge facing workers than digital disruption, Swinburne workforce thought leader Dr Sean Gallagher told an audience at State Library Victoria. 

In a keynote presentation targeted to young alumni as part of Swinburne’s ‘The Emerging Futures of Work’ event, Dr Gallagher, inaugural Director of the Centre for the New Workforce, outlined how the workforce is rapidly changing and what skills students and workers will need to in the face of new challenges. 

“The pace of technological change continues to accelerate and get further ahead of society’s ability to adapt. Skills and traditional education are not keeping up, meaning human development is falling behind,” says Dr Gallagher. 

“Even if education steps up its advance, it will still fall behind the future of work for which it aims to prepare people. A new approach to learning is needed.” 

The future is still human 

To help students and alumni face this future, Dr Gallagher is leading the charge to investigate the futures of work with industry partners designing and implementing the learning needed to succeed in these futures. 

And while understanding technology is vital, Dr Gallagher says that the future of work will remain human.

“Rather than replacing humans in jobs, we believe technology presents an extraordinary opportunity to explore peak human potential in the digital economy.” 

He suggests that workers and organisations take note of the following tips to succeed: 

  • Get to the front of technology change: put yourself where emerging futures of work are happening;
  • Immerse your company: engage with freelancers; set up in a co-working spaces; crowdsource ideas; trial new digital technologies; create virtual networks; and
  • Immerse yourself: augment yourself with technology, practise agility and be ingenious. 

Studying the new workforce 

The Centre for the New Workforce is a research-led initiative of Swinburne’s Pathways and Vocational Education (PAVE) portfolio, with ties to research and education strategies across the university. 

Its purpose is to create new knowledge on how the digital revolution is transforming work, workers and the workplace, with a focus on how to best equip people for the challenges and opportunities ahead. 

The centre is collaborating closely with industry, inform policy and create impact through its leadership role in developing a digitally-capable workforce in Australia and internationally. 

The centre will officially launch in December 2018.