Working to close Australia's skills gap: Lessons from abroad
2021 industry briefing

Working to close Australia's skills gap: Lessons from abroad

By adopting lessons from overseas, Australia has an opportunity to accelerate skills growth and support greater collaboration across the public and private sectors.

Post-pandemic recovery starts now. Lessons from abroad.

In 2020, we released our Industry Briefing ‘Closing Australia’s Skills Gap’, which explored the vast changes to the ways we work amid advancing technology and changing expectations of the workplace. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape workplaces over the country, Australia’s skills gaps have widened. While the focus has been on digital literacy, these gaps are more profound than just adapting to the world’s largest ever work-from-home experiment. 

By looking at case studies and examples of better practice from abroad, Dr. Benjamin Hamer shows that there is opportunity for system-wide skills reform to ensure the longer-term viability and success of Australian organisations and their workers. This includes action across areas such as lifelong learning and upskilling, proactive redeployment, new skills funding models and skills anticipation using insights from the job market. 

Broadening the skill base of Australians is vital for economic growth and prosperity. With a series of foundational infrastructure and investments in place, now is time to drive greater public-private cooperation to accelerate closing Australia’s skills gap.

  • Job losses hurt socio-economic groups unevenly. In the first half of 2020, the labour force contracted by almost 7 % for people with low skills – who typically also have lower incomes – while it fell by 5.4 % for those with medium skills and rose by 3.3 % for those with high skills.”

    Ms Christine Lagarde , President of the European Central Bank

Key lessons from abroad

Lifelong learning and upskilling

Organisations, individuals and educational systems must adapt to ensure we are building the skills for tomorrow’s leaders, today.

Proactive redeployment and re-employment

The redeployment and re-employment of workers into in-demand sectors will increase labour participation and support workers in transition.

Availability of skills funding models

Innovative skills funding models can respond to economic shock by creating a support network for lifelong learning and the effective disbursement of funds.

Skills anticipation and job market insights

Utilising valuable job market insights and working alongside the private sector will support skills forecasting and upskilling initiatives.

Contact the Centre for the New Workforce

Contact us to discuss how we can work together to determine new approaches to learning and knowledge creation by calling +61 3 9214 3398 or emailing new-workforce@swinburne.edu.au.

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