The new career normal
How universities and industry can work together to rapidly upskill Australian workers.
So to really just set the stage for our topic the new career normal. I saw that yesterday the ABC reported, nearly 1 million Australians are now unemployed because of the coronavirus. There's been a 7.5% slump in job jobs just between mid March, and then April in Australia, and the Reserve Bank is predicting a hit of 10% to our economy. And that's just what we know now and so for many of us, it's we're still waiting to see when does recovery start. So what we wanted to do today is to think about that a little bit like What does recovery, or what might it look like. When will it start. What will it require and, without a doubt, a central part of our conversation today is what will it take to get Australians back to work and to help Australian industry to retool and to reimagine its workforce as really an essential part not only of this recovery effort, but the future prosperity of Australia. So I'm not sure it's possible to say, never let a crisis go to waste with insensitivity, but I think many of us are seeing this as a pivotal moment not one that we wished for and not one that we wanted, but one, wherein we really do have to call upon the greatest, you know, superpower of our ability to embrace innovation embrace disruption and think about what's required to get us as a society, to where we need to be. And when I say innovation, I don't mean necessarily just r&d isn't capital R and capital D, but more critically, and importantly it's really the growth and innovation capability in ourselves and in our workforce. How do we build resiliency, flexibility, and importantly cultures of learning and transdisciplinary collaboration. So we're really fortunate today to have three experienced leaders here with us and innovators who are closely engaged with these challenges. And what this new normal might look like. And we're actively working to help prepare us for the future. Closing the skills gap and aligning learning and careers to the jobs that the future will demand. So today we have joining us, Harlan Wilkinson who leads work for strategy and learning for Telstra. We have also Dr. Christie kiddo Associate Professor in the UCS connected Intelligence Center, and within the innovation and entrepreneurship unit, our very own Fiona Anson future skills expert and UCS lead for enterprise learning. So I'd like to begin by asking individually each one of our panelists to share a little bit about themselves and their work in relation to this new normal. So Carolyn let's start with you, tell us a bit about your background in your role at Telstra, and in particular how you've approached the rather I might say daunting task of re skilling more than 3000 Telstra team members.
welcome everybody I'm Carolyn wilcoxon product owner for building technical skills in Telstra sounds like a very big title and it is been a technology company and having thousands of amazing employees who are working to deliver the products and solutions that enable, even for this time the connectivity that we're all. Hopefully, experiencing without too much trouble. Over the past, I'd say a few years but there's been a significant shift in Telstra, in terms of how we look at learning. And, and, you know, I have the absolute privilege of being in a role that is able to help shape what that looks like and maybe do things differently, and then connect with universities and other industries to help shape the different ways of learning. And we've got two key challenges facing us at the moment is one, because of the pandemic is quickly onboarding an additional 2000 employees to help service our customers, and how quickly we can do that, and build those skills in such a short space of time to deliver a very short term view. But what we also have is thousands of engineers and analysts who are also going through a significant change and evolution of their skills and also with the convergence of skills, where it's no longer. I'm just an engineer and I'm just an analyst of how those balls and those skills are converging, and what does that mean and how quickly we can pivot to help our people. Retain relevancy in their job and in their skills in the business. And, and part of that change is really looking at how individuals can self service, their learning and not needing to seek to learn is one of the key things we're looking at changing how we connect schools. so we tend to look at skills so differently. I need a skill in this tool, versus I need to build my skills and as an analyst I need skills on this technology and how we bring that all together, rather than looking at all of those things in isolation. And, and then the beauty of order is, is there's so many smarts out there, how do we connect with universities with industries with other companies. And actually, which is a pandemic is really helping accelerate, is we do it all together, rather than and look at the benefits everybody, and not just one company, one industry. So, that's me, worked on over the world and predominately in od, and learning, and very privileged to be here in Australia, and work with Telstra and working through this pandemic which is providing an amazing opportunity to possibly speed up things that were just simmering on the surface before the pandemic. And, and how we can get on that and keep that momentum going faster. So that's me.
Great, thank you. Carolyn. I'm going to get to our other two panelists, but I do want to come back to this notion of self service learning I think that's really provocative and I want to understand better how you're approaching that at Telstra and how you facilitate that and also around the cross sector, and university collaboration piece because you know that's not something that necessarily always comes naturally to industry so I'm keen to understand more and universities, how, how the particular circumstances unprecedented that we're in are kind of allowing these, these collaborations to happen when they haven't necessarily always in the past so so we'll hold that but let's come back to those, because I think that'll be really exciting for us to explore. Now next Fiona. You've quite rightly earned the title of future skills expert with more than two decades of leadership in this in this arena. Can you tell us a little bit about your sustained interest in workforce skills mapping and prediction, and how you're bringing this knowledge to bear on your work for ups and with Telstra and Carolyn
yeah thanks Margaret like it's it's a really interesting space to be in right now, as you said, I've been in this space for about two decades looking at workforce workforce needs, and certainly in the last five years, noticed a huge increase in the speed at which we need to skill people up. I've also noticed a huge change in the type of skill that we're looking at so 10 years ago technology was starting to take hold but technology is now really driving our need to rescale people. And so we constantly look at what does that look like, what does that look like for universities and organizations alike to be able to guide people as to where we need to focus our efforts to make sure that we've got workers who've got relevant skills that are well employed that solve the skills gap that we currently have that is growing at a rate of knots. It's, again, it's really interesting to see over the last few years just the difference in the skills gap that were experiencing and one thing that COVID-19 has bought to this whole problem is that we, we were plugging some skills gaps with skilled migrants, that solution has now been effectively just shut down on us so not only do we have out our own skill problem that we have to deal with and our upskilling challenges for our own workforce, but we also need to look at how do we fill the gaps that field migrants would have filled for us, up until what six, six weeks ago eight weeks ago so it's an ongoing challenge to measure that. And to make sure that way is an institution of delivering really relevant upskilling and rescaling curriculum to help organizations to be able to, as Carolyn said do it at speed, which is so important because it's not only their needs that are that are changing rapidly but even the technologies are changing rapidly around that.
Great, thank you. Fiona and a little bit again let's get back to it a little bit that question of how the landscape is changing because of some of these external forces, not just the disruption of the lockdown. In terms of what it's doing to our economy but just travel and how business is practiced and developed over so many years and where we find talent. Now some of you hopefully will notice that we've got a poll coming up. That's live right now around skill shortage. So please feel free to weigh in on that because we're really curious to hear from all of you participating in the webinar today how you're experiencing the skill shortage, and the new career normal your areas.
So, now Christy. Last but not least,
you have quite a rich field of academic academic inquiry, looking at human cognition and complexity advanced computation. Can you explain for those of us lay people, let's say a little bit about the focus of your research, and really importantly how you're using data and technology, and the connected Intelligence Center to learn about how we learn.
Sure. So the connected Intelligence Center is a unit that we have in YouTube yes that is basically trying to help us to make use of data more effectively. And so I have quite a, quite a background as an academic, where I started off as a physicist and went off and worked in a cognitive science computer science group, and eventually wandered into a field that's called Learning Analytics, which is about using data and analytics to help people learn, and the connected Intelligence Center we have a particular focus on learner centered learning analytics so we're trying to help people to learn for themselves or to learn how to learn more effectively. And so instead of maybe guiding people through a process or AI algorithm that they can't really control or can't see the workings of were really interested in trying to give them insights that they could make use of to actually become more effective around identifying gaps or places where they could improve their practice or potentially opportunities in how they might grow their career. So one of the, one of the key projects. I'm involved in at the moment is using data analytics datasets collected from job market data all over the world, which gives us an idea about skills gaps and how different careers are evolving over time. And so we're trying to use this data set and some of the analytics that comes with it. To make make tools that can help both UTF students and other people to make better choices about what subjects they might study or how they might choose to upskill or rescale over a lifetime of learning. So that's that's probably the best introduction to me I could give super. I won't
complain, I think that was excellent. Thank you so much, and what you're, you're suggesting here around learning how to learn in how you're using the data science to essentially identify those gaps and then link them through skills to opportunities right, is that I'm gonna ask Carolyn is that a bit of what you're looking at when you talk about this self service learning.
Yes, so there are there's an amazing mindset change that goes on that when you're at home and you want to learn something you just learn. You go and find it you find a YouTube video you just do it, you practice and you don't think about it you learn but for some reason when you come into the office and you don't. Naturally, pick up things you want to learn you, you go and speak to somebody or you ask permission, or there are lockers seem to be in a way, and what the self service is all about, is really removing every single blocker that we absolutely can. So there's my mindset to learning, and people just doing the learning they need to do when they need to do it, whether it's to solve a problem, immediately, or whether it's a bit more planned in terms of their career and where they want to go, or upskilling rescaling is that the self service is not about asking permission. It's really about enabling them to do it as easy as they would at home, in terms of learning to do something so self service is then put the learning all the way back into the end user the employee. And yes, it takes it away from the leader, it doesn't eliminate the leader, what it does is changes how that conversation is going to happen. So it's a partnership of development, rather than a permission to learn. So putting it all the way back to the employee and enable that self service and removing all those blockers, so that learning become more organic and, and becomes a muscle that we react for five, and to enable that lifelong learning.
And do you find, and this is a topic that's come up in a few conversations recently that some individuals or team members, don't they might know they need to learn, and they might know that they need to upskill but there's just a variety of things they could do or could study or could learn. Like, how much is needed in terms of navigational
say in that learning journey and I know, maybe Fiona or or Christy will want to jump in as well because I know some of that technology that Kate's been developing is hopefully coming to bear on this problem here with Telstra
as part of enabling self service, and we've addressed that as well. So what we do is we look at a roadmap of all of the linked skills and tools and technologies and applications that enables success, within a given capability. And then what we do is help provide the first instance of learning, and at a particular level of competency. So it's not difficult to go if I need to learn this and I think I'm at this level of skill will readily, give them that first instance of where they can start their journey. And then over time as that muscle gets exercise, and they'll probably explore beyond what we've provided them as a simple first instance to get them going. And we've got that to multiple levels of competency so it really is self service, and it's not self servicing where do I start. And we've also given them the platform of where to start and to start that exploration and the two has to go hand in hand. We can't just do one thing or say we want to enable self service. Without knowing the type of personas we're supporting and enabling, everyone. Those who are very mature in their learning journey, and those that are a little bit more hesitant and where do I start, there's so much out there. We've done all that hard work for them. And hopefully, by doing that, we give them that confidence to start that journey, and as it becomes easier, and becomes more of an unconscious behavior that they keep doing
real quick and that sounds to me in a way like the ideal future state have this sort of new normal and how you would show up to work as a culture of learning right and understand that you have that access. Now what I'm wondering, in this immediate moment that we're looking at. And you mentioned at the top of our discussion, you know, needing to onboard, you know thousand new workers and upskill you know thousands of workers very quickly because the intensity of the current situation, maybe doesn't necessarily allow for some of the more leisurely cultures of learning that we would like to see. So, and that kind of brings us to one of our top topics which is really around the skills shortage. Like, right now, and also into the future and just watching the live poll it looks at the moment like innovation and business transformation as is out in the lead.
Right now and then what's coming in terms of urgent that we really need to prioritize I know Fiona's got some data on that and Carolyn Of course you can tell us about what you're seeing it at Telstra, but I'll just open it up there in terms of what, what, what is the the most acute pointy end of the skill shortage we're looking at right now.
By who right now for the pandemic is serving customers and understanding the basics to service customers, I think we all take it for granted, we can do that but let's not underestimate how difficult that can be to service customers, and when you've got very much a complex and products that were servicing those customers aren't. So one of the things that I think the pandemic was also really highlighted is how quickly people can become creative around and looking at what we've always done for learning versus how quickly and efficiently, can we get people on the tools to do this, and it's absolutely amazing to see something that could take days and days to learn before you let them loose at the customer that we're doing that within a day. Now, so it is fast amazing but yes serving our customers, and the fact that we have a lot of people who have never served as a customer before yet we build products and solutions for them, and now they're serving customers as well. So that's been an immediate need. But what it has highlighted is it's provided this opportunity to look at those border skills, especially with the access to global skills. And I think what it's given us is the most exciting opportunity to reutilize our own talent within Australia, and how we can redirect that talent to those needs. Rather than thinking we have to go global. And to service those needs and I think that is one of the most exciting opportunities that has come out of this as well.
Yeah, I would, I would absolutely underline everything that Carolyn said, I mean, I was looking at some job data the other day around jobs in demand over the last two months and the change has been absolutely drastic to say the jobs that were in demand, six, eight weeks ago, have now basically stalled and we've moved to this customer service customer centric style jobs that are very much in demand but there's other skills that prior to COVID and I think we'll continue through COVID and out the other side, that we're seeing definitely in demand and one of them as Carolyn, and Telstra have identified his daughter in analytics. That's a huge growth market we you know we live and breathe by job these days to run organizations and to do things and again there's a massive skill shortage in that area. Cyber and risk as we obviously move more to technology based living that opens a whole can of worms in terms of security and privacy and all those sorts of issues and we certainly don't have enough workers in that room at the moment in any way shape or form, and business transformation and change I mean, again, the last six weeks has put the accelerator on that in an incredible way and we've seen the best in people I mean we've seen how adaptable we are, how resilient we are, how, you know, one minute way complaining about working from home and the next minute it's the new normal. And everybody's just getting on with business so that ability to change and to come up with innovation really quickly. If anything, or what's happened out of COVID is just the acceleration of that. And I see that continuing out the other side so certainly businesses are looking for people that can innovate, that can help change that can implement change that can champion change all of those things I think are going to be the skills that we see and demand, both through and coming out of this period.
Thank you, Fiona and I and it goes across every sector of industry and public and private life right now. When we think about how dramatically our daily lives have changed my children are studying at home now all of their curriculum and learning is online ups we pivoted to having mostly quite a lot of our content delivered in class to 100% also we're delivering online across all of our programs in a week. And I know that a lot of the work that Fiona has been doing with Carolyn and our Center for connected intelligence has been around how can the university and our industry, respond better to the needs of Australia, so maybe on that. Do you want to talk a little bit about the Fiona and Carolyn about the collaboration between UTM and Telstra and, if possible, how did that start and how has it changed because this collaboration predates COVID-19.
I think I'll start the conversation I'm sure Fiona can help finish conversation.
So, we've been looking. This is in the office go at my credentials already got some money in but it was about selecting partners to universities in terms of what it is we wanted to do and data and analytics been a skill that is very converged in multiple roles now it's not just that the data scientist or the you know the AI ml engineer or anything else, it's, everyone has analytics in their role if they don't they should have, because you know we really should be making data informed decisions. And when we went out to see who we're going to partner with it, you know, it was very obvious that our choice for this was going to be ups, and they've done amazing things in this space and. And we're very able to very quickly and swiftly respond to help us in building out these credentials in this space, we've currently got three years to be deployed in June we have another three already on the cars to be built to really help in this in this capability area of data analytics, because it's not just about one thing there's there's many ways you can cut it. It was also looking at what else has been done by other universities and industries across the globe as well so that research is already done. And what we noticed was there were quite a few gaps in terms of what we were trying to achieve here. So we were very aware that when choosing to look at this partnership and what we were trying to do. And we're not doing it in terms of this is only about Telstra is that this partnership is a collaboration to solve an industry requirement that anyone can use and access. So I think that's the beauty part of it as well it's not. It's only accessible by Telstra what we build and have developed with us Yes, anyone at connectors, in the world, hopefully more in Australia, which I think is also part of it as well there's, there's a time to be selfish, and there's a time to share. And for me these micro credentials is about building capability in the industry. And, of which we will benefit from that as well as everybody else so Fiona you're on the other side of the fence in terms of what it meant for you guys in building this and and things that you've had to change. I can only come from, you know, our side but I know that there's a lot of work that's done on the other side as well.
Yeah definitely there is and one of the things I think that YouTube is competitive so on the back end is our willingness to be responsive and it actually addresses. One of the questions that I've seen pop up in the q&a section about what is you know what is ETS doing in that regard. And I think, in just education in general is looking at how we be more responsive to need. And looking at different forms of learning that allow us to be very responsive as I said, the need for rescaling and the nature of the state of which we need to rescale is something that is growing. So we need to look at different forms of funding that will enable that speed to happen or learning at speed to happen. And so the development of the micro credentials with Telstra is not only looked at what are the market needs and the gaps in that market that utopias can help fill, but also the form that that learning takes to make sure that it happens at the speed with which Telstra and other organizations need to happen and that is also applicable as you said Carolyn to the whole market, not just specifically to a particular client so that that the learners are getting best practice learning, and that they are getting lateral industry based views on the topics that they're learning so that they're applicable to every situation not just very narrow situations so that allows them as they move through their career to be more adaptable because they've got more exposure to best practice across the board. So there's a couple of things in there that we've had to tackle as part of this project with Telstra that is, as I said, the speed with which we've had to do it. So we've had to apply that that speed to ourselves as well as how we then deliver the learning effect at fade as well, and the development of the learning and speed but also how we make sure that it is truly agnostic. And so that we can deliver that really depth of skill to the learners and deliver it in a way that's, that's, you know, is fulfills Telstra his needs. And so we like to pride ourselves on on listening to our clients to making sure that we understand what their true need is and help them design learning that that satisfies that need. And of course we have a wonderful resource to be able to do that, which is Kirsty and her team. And so it's important to note that some of the work that Kirsty does is to actually help us to understand when you say we need to build to build an expertise or competency or an advanced level of skill. We can then X has coasties daughter and coasties chain. So what does that look like and how does that need to be interpreted in the learning that we deliver.
And I think it's also to import, I should buy recognition, the sneeze in Telstra as well, who have come in partnership to show how this skill is applied in industry so in a real application to bring all of that together at such speed through this micro credentialing is. I know on behalf of the sneeze. And our senior learning consultant who's facilitating this in partnership with UDS how beneficial, it's been it's not just one view. It really is that end to end view of what the learning is but also how it's applied as well so they can apply it as soon as they start a credential they don't have to wait to the end to start applying, which I think is also really really important.
And I'll quick question two around the responsiveness and the speed so we're all aware that time is of the essence especially now. And I'm wondering, and this is a question for Percy. In terms of that speed of responsiveness and being able to identify the the needs in terms of the skill gaps and what is the right sort of learning mode or how do we how do we get learners there. Do you want to tell us a little bit about how IQ is using, you know, data analytics and data science to help us understand that and to respond more quickly.
So one of the things we find is that the type of job market or the type of job ad that appears can change quite dramatically in this timeframe and even over different seasons, you can see some really quite different trends in terms of what people are looking for. And one of the things that we often see would be AI in data science is a really nice example of this. It's a field where a lot of people are asking for data scientists, but actually what we need is a data literate organization where people from a lot of different areas, who are subject matter domains in other things like, you know, innovation, or customer support can still use data effectively and understand when it's being misused, and call it out because.
example of this. It's a field where a lot of people are asking for data scientists, but actually what we need is a data literate organization where people from a lot of different areas, who are subject matter domains in other things like, you know, innovation, or customer support can still use data effectively and understand when it's being misused, and call it out, because at the moment we have a real shortage in people that identify as data users so they're not very sophisticated machine learning experts we need them as well. But we also need people who are able to interrogate data and ask key critical questions or and use it to inform their practice. So we see that coming out a lot where different, different organizations might be asking for a particular form of expertise that actually almost moves over into this kind of bridging role between, you know, sort of the key technical skills but also those background skills that you apply the data science expertise to.
Great, thank you. Yeah, and I think, I think it's sort of unpacking some of this and getting back to what Carolyn said, as well as helping employees especially who have been with a company for a while, understand, which direction do they need to go and how do they need to upskill and then having, you know the right learning at the right time, which you know obviously is what we're trying to be able to do as a university to respond quickly, as these, these needs emerge. One of the things I wanted to return to as well. Carolyn that you brought up in the beginning is about collaboration and collaborating in this particular moment of crisis sort of across industry and with university partners and others. Do you want to talk a little bit about how that has come about and what that looks like and what we're learning through some of these collaborations.
Yeah, and the obvious one is we're all in the same boat is a really an end it's a power. The power of more than one. You know, so if one person can start that voice and I think it was very clear early on with the, I forgotten her name around the fact that she was Swedish or Finnish or whatever but how one person can start a boom but the power is that collectiveness coming together and and what I've found is through some of the other things we've been developing where it's not just Telstra it's other companies as well, how powerful that becomes a terms of working to those solutions because, you know, we'll have a perspective and other company will have the perspective that there's so much talent out there, and you pull that talent together, and you start to see a much better picture of what it is we need to solve for. Obviously there's challenges because lots of voices, how would you find the new a know what you need to solve to all the noise and everything else. But that's also where the benefit comes from. Not just industries coming together but bringing education in as well, is that we can get through that noise. Together, and it's also about not solving for everything, right here, right now. It's making a start. And look using data to make informed decisions about where we should start. And, and then because we can build at speed is, we know we can ladder, the learning quickly. So whilst we're building here in a very agile way, in a very lean way as well. We can ladder on very quickly what needs to go next, and pivot and change a lot quicker than what we're used to. So,
the more people, the more companies that come together,
the more powerful. We become in terms of creating talent within Australia. And then it comes about the companies competing against each other to secure the talent and I think there's a healthy, a healthy battle to have in that you know we're all trying to pull from the same capability, and that it's about our companies making sure they have the right employee brand, and to bring that talent into our company. So, you know, healthy competition is good but there are times when you've got to collaborate and. And it's always, you can't collaborate with just one, so it's been really really interesting, and I know as part of the work we've done with GTS we've already had another company come in, who are interested in what we've been doing and wanting to participate as well as part of the credentials and I say more the merrier. As far as I'm concerned, and then we'll compete with the talent at the end.
Yeah, that's, I mean that's the quality problem we want to get to where it's really heating for that domestic homegrown talent. So, terrific and and I know for us the ETS has been great collaborating with Telstra and, you know, it is, it's gonna take, it's gonna take the whole village to get us through this moment, essentially, now we've got some interesting questions coming in from the QA does you know slight jump, but I think it's worthwhile because this is an interesting question that comes up quite a lot, particularly in discussions around enterprise, or corporate learning. So, all what what's the what's the feeling on competency models or frameworks, in terms of training in an environment, particularly when we're talking about self guided or self serving. how important from from the industry point of view and then we'll have our university speakers respond. Do you think those those competency frameworks are. I think the frame is important.
So I use frameworks. And because they help help understand the fluidity where and the shift we're trying to trying to do. And so it's really good to have those frameworks to help underpin what it is we're doing in those areas, and the challenges for frameworks is that the experience of a person in that framework isn't linear. So it's not going from level one to level five because they could have a majority of capability across all those levels and, but what it helps is to make sure that from a learning perspective, we have all those areas covered so that when somebody does sell surveys. What they're servicing against will actually build competency across and confidence, across that capability framework. So yes we do use it, they're very important, and we use them as an enabler. And they're also a really good way to check how you're going as well. But what they're not is linear, you don't start at level one and get to level five, everyone's going to come in that with very different competency levels and experiences, and that's where the learning helps support that. No matter where you sit in that framework is not about boxing people, to a level, allows them to play in that whole framework of building their skills.
Yeah. terrific and Christy you're nodding your head quite a bit. Did you want to weigh in on sort of competency framework or some of the ways in which we're using those to evaluate. Sure, I'm learning.
So you spend a lot of time mapping competency frameworks into define taxonomies, and the reason we were interested in doing that is because people coming from different organizations or different educational contexts, need to be able to move fluidly and naturally across those boundaries so one of the real challenges in higher education at the moment is how can we make those boundaries more porous, because we know people don't just start at school and then go to university and then end up in a job for the rest of their life. They go in and out of education, and so you know they'll be learning on the job or they'll decide that they really need to upskill in a specific area and they come back to university and they might be doing a micro credential for the flexibility or they might be, you know, doing something like a master's degree, and then there'll be out again. And so what we need is a way of actually mapping say the competency framework in Telstra into for example accreditation levels at the university, and then different universities might be looking at different sort of competency frameworks themselves so we really need ways of actually understanding across those boundaries. And, and there's a lot of really nicely defined taxonomies that we use for that and then we use natural language processing and analytics to actually perform those mappings automatically because we don't want to do them by hand. They're too hard. So one of the big challenges is how can you make that a faster process that's easier to apply as more and more people come in and out of education on demand and like try to motivate themselves throughout a lifetime of learning.
And I suspect, if we're not doing it by hand, in many ways, we might be more accurate in terms of mapping those two right take out some of the biases one hopes. A quick question to for Fiona This is something that we've talked about you and I and others at the university quite a bit, which I'll describe is essentially, understanding the baseline so let's say we're working with Telstra we want to understand where their workers are before or their team members that that will be engaged in learning. And where do they need to get to because even the taxonomies aren't so useful if you don't know the GPS of where I am and my, my journey of learning and what I bring with me. So, yeah, I know you've been working on something there with with tickets mothers as well. Do you want to talk a bit about that and how that plays into this, this larger sort of self service approach.
Yeah, definitely. We've been working on diagnostic tools by for one of a better term to be able to do exactly what he's talking about and Carolyn was talking about which is there are no two lenders that are exactly the same. There are no two organizations that have exactly the same job descriptions or skill requirements or and even your roles within industries within the same organization can have different nuances. And so what we're trying to do is understand how we use technology to best help students and learners to be able to diagnose, where they are where their skills gaps and where they're trying to go and then prescribe that responsive education that helps them to develop the you know the bridge between the skills that they have and the skills that they need. And of course as careers change and as this change continues to speed up that's going to happen at a more and more rapid pace. So we believe that, you know, the whole concept of lifelong learning is something that, you know, certainly UTSA has grasped with both hands. I think everybody realizes that lifelong learning is now just, you know, a mainstay of life. And so how do we as an organization help people to understand what that next step in that journey is of lifelong learning, and what you know what education then helps them prescribe basically the you know the gap filler that they're going to need to take that next step in their career, whether it's sideways, whether it's off, whether it's across you know these these careers so fluid. Now, that, that there is no cotton ball I can, I can do this training and then I'm set for life, everything is changing. And so whether or not it's specifically aligned to your career, or whether or not it's something that it's an adjunct that you need to learn, could be a new piece of technology that you need to skill up in. So how do we then create tools and Kirsty's at the forefront of this, creating tools that help Elvas students and our corporate partners to best diagnose and prescribe you know how, how we help them to upskill their workforces.
Yeah, thank you. And I think one of the other things that's that's exciting about when we can get that diagnostic right, and to be able to, you know, essentially even map out. You know what are what are the, the nearest and sort of furthest destinations in terms of your career options paired with your learning, and it's, it's, as we can make the noise, more clear to individuals and I think this is what we were sort of talking about earlier, that that self service becomes driven by you know quite, quite intrinsic motivation to get to get to those career opportunities right now there's an interesting question that's come in from the q&a channel, particularly, I'll ask this of Carolyn, and that what's, what's the benefit or perceived value let's say of a micro credential versus something that, like, I've learned through an LMS and in my, in my industry of right like, how do you in industry. See the difference between credential than non credential learning.
We don't see it so linear as in, I'm going down I'm a micro credential path of learning on not identical path of learning. It's how they interact with each other. So, and how depending on who you are and what type of all you're stepping into what the right solution is to build your skills so if I can give an example, We may have a product engineer who's decided they want to become a product manager.
And they may
know what their gaps are in terms of their skills and competencies so they're successful in that they have been trinsic behaviors and and will to want to become a product manager and when the role that way. But at the end of the day they still don't know the skills of a product manager so by offering a micro credential. It makes sure that they're learning and the skills they're learning, and is a consistent baseline that other product managers have been through as well so it helps. It helps them in a very short space of time, build the knowledge and foundations of becoming a product manager. And then what they can do is apply other skills and learnings and technologies through other platforms such as LinkedIn for site Udemy a variety there's so many out there to complement any gaps or the gaps, they may have. So it's not one or the other. It's, you know when we look at our roadmaps and the first instances of learning against skills, and as a variety dependent upon where the person is coming from and what is right for them. So, the micro credentials for us, because it really is about competence and confidence, and is knowing where that value is going to be attained by Telstra, And for the employee, so that we can set set them up for success in their role, versus when it's more online learning just to fill those gaps or that's the way you prefer to learn as well so there are so many ways you can cut it and mix it up. But it's not one or the other, it never will be. But you've got to understand how the benefit of one, and maybe right for a particular situation versus the benefit of the other.
I think you're on mute. I did that thing.
Yeah, I did that thing or it's like Margaret you're on mute. I'm sorry, I've been pretty good enough but I was, I was just saying that I love that answer because you know to to not to try to think of learning in these binary terms sort of credential credential then that come to understand, you might learn something in a team project that you hadn't done before and that's valid learning, just as much as doing something that's offered through a university that's a credential but that they have different places. And that learning journey and the kind of completion of, of a certain area that you're you're building that confidence and competence and I think that's such a nice pairing is that that you really want to develop both the the confidence that you know you're able to do something, and then the confidence that you can continue to deliver on it so if we can all keep that in mind. Now we've also got one more sort of speed round question I think this is quite relevant especially given the some of the figures that I opened with around someone who's coming from unemployment or a place of being unemployed even maybe long term unemployed, You know what, what is the, what's the best path isn't to start to do some of the microfinance roles or let's say the new higher education grad cert that the government has has launched or. Yeah, so, internships, like some advice from the panel around how do you not just were already in industry, think about learning but if he needs to get back into it or rescale for a new industry.
Micro credential is a quick, you know, within six to eight weeks you can actually prove competence and confidence at the end be assessed competent within a particular skill set. So, depending on your background where you come in from and where you want to go. And you could easily say that within six to eight weeks of doing a micro credential, and then find that a company where, that's a great front door in six to eight weeks is very fast. Indeed, I guess, other qualification programs can take one to two years, but Mike Occidental's really spells it out because it's pulled from the same learning. It's just shorter sharper credentialed earlier, but more within a specific skill set. And so, absolutely. I think it really can help. There's still so many more that needs to be built. And you know we can solve. I always believe we can solve the world. Absolutely. Imagine six to eight weeks long term unemployment and within six to eight weeks, and having a base skill within a high demand area where you can just start your journey. I think that's pretty awesome opportunity. But it all comes down to who the person is where they're coming from, and what their desire is as well.
Fantastic, thank you that's really useful and I wonder on that building fionna based on your research in terms of the skills that are most in demand in the market, you could snap your fingers and have a set of micro credentials, ready to go. What would they be.
Well, first of all I think underpinning everything in this day and age is digital literacy so going back to your original question, Margaret if there are people that maybe are long term unemployed or, you know, have come out of a career where they're not necessarily digitally literate, I think that's number one is getting skilled up in that area is super important. I'm happy to say that I think daughter is one as Coastie said early adopter is one of those things that we are starting to see organizations that are basically run by data at the data that they have so understanding not only the technical parts of how you interpret data but but actually understanding the logics around daughter and the questions that we need to ask. So, not only those typical hard skills but also some of the soft skills around, you know, analytical thinking and critical thinking and all of those sorts of things are areas where I think people need to make sure that they've got a really good skill set, because those areas will always be in demand, it doesn't matter what industry. It doesn't matter what circumstance, organizations are looking at people that are problem solvers, and you know we've been thrust in the middle of a big problem. And you've seen how quickly you know people that that are able to sink and solve problems can, you know, get into get into their, their army gear and go to fight fight so and organizations I noticed our poll showed that most of our attendees here today are looking at business transformation and change management that's kind of number one on the hit list so those people are problem solvers. They take problems and they they look at how we change things for the better. So, if I think a combination of those digital skills, those analytical skills and those transferable skills around, problem solving and critical thinking, make a really lovely foundation for for wherever you want to go in a career from here forward.
Well it's gonna be hard to top that but we have a couple of minutes left. Not very long. So I'm wondering if we might just do one quick. One quick question for each of you basically the sort of open field. What do you think is our greatest opportunity right now and this as we're looking towards the post COVID, and what could we do, potentially, to get there, and it can be a bit, you know, dream big, but I just curious if you see sort of one major opportunity on the horizon, what would it be.
For me personally, is,
you know, the government have put lots of things in place, money wise to support people who have lost jobs and everything else but I think if I was to have anything I wanted it would be the government to reinvest in our own talent, within Australia and pay for them to do some of this learning for absolute free, and I think that would see some tremendous shift in change, not just at the tastes and institutes but at universities, is to pay people to, to learn, and not just pay people to, you know, do all the basic things they need to be doing, but pay people to learn. I think it's a fantastic opportunity right here right now because amazing what people can learn within the next six months, it will be amazing. So that's what I, if I could, that's what I'd love to see is a people to loan
me to I love it, I love it. That is terrific. Now click we've got three minutes, beyond I pricey. What do you think,
okay, I'll go first. I actually think what will come out of this and what I would love to see come out of this is a focus on Australia, and just how talented we are. And I think the, the, the terrible thing about, you know, the situation is that the unemployment and obviously the, the mental and economic effects and other effects that has on people but the good thing is that people are now refocusing on upskilling which means that we get better at what we do. And I think, you know, Australia had come out of this so strongly and we've already proved just how will we handle this. You know, around the world stage as being one of the countries that have done this best. And I think we can actually come out of the other side of this, you know, incredibly powerful with an amazing amazingly skilled workforce.
And I think adding to that, providing real opportunities for people to be quite directed and guided in how they upskill so we've put a lot of effort into making it very flexible and very easy for people to do whatever they want. But then we need to put the supports in place to make sure that they're moving towards a direction where they'll, they'll end up at a goal that is a goal that is useful both for them and for Australia in the longer term.
Beautiful so we're gonna with our wishing wanna say pay us to learn. Let's focus on making Australia, a world leader and let's just keep that good guidance coming to make sure everybody's getting the best of themselves out there to contribute to the greater good. So I think we can't do any better than that. Today, so I'm gonna wrap up the discussion there, but I wanted to take a moment to give sincere thanks
beyond a Christy for your time for your insights and and for only three perspectives you shared with us today. Now, you can.
This article is based on, and contains excerpts from, Life after lockdown – The new career normal.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit Australia’s economy hard, with more than a million people out of work, or around 7.5% of the workforce, just between mid-March and April.
So what will it take to get Australians back to work and help industry retool and reimagine its workforce?
“The change in which jobs are in demand over the last two months has been absolutely drastic. We’ve moved into customer service centric style job demand, but there are other in-demand skills prior to COVID that I think will continue through COVID and out the other side,” says Future Skills Expert, Fiona Anson, from UTS’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit.
Skill shortages in data and analytics, cyber and risk, and business transformation have been apparent for years.
“The last six weeks has put the accelerator on that in an incredible way. Certainly businesses are looking for people that can innovate, that can help implement change, that can champion change.”
In the past, there was a sentiment that people could train and be set for life. But now, everything is changing and people need to constantly re-skill and up-skill.
Future Skills Expert
Fiona Anson says we need to make sure universities are delivering relevant upskilling, and rescaling curriculum to help organisations to be able to do it at speed.
“One thing that COVID-19 has shown is that we were plugging some skills gaps with skilled migrants, and that solution has now been effectively shut down. So not only do we have our own skill problem, and our upskilling challenges for our own workforce, but we also need to look at how do we fill the gaps that migrants would have filled for us.”
“The pandemic has also really highlighted how quickly people can become creative in terms of what we’ve always done for learning. It’s provided this opportunity to look at those border skills, especially with the access to global skills. And I think what it’s given us is the most exciting opportunity to reutilise our own talent within Australia, and how we can redirect that talent to those needs,” says Carolyn Wilcockson, Product Owner – Technical Skills, at Telstra.
“We have a particular focus on learner centred learning analytics so we're trying to help people to learn for themselves or to learn how to learn more effectively. One of the key projects I'm involved in at the moment is applying advanced analytics to datasets collected from job market data all over the world, which gives us an idea about skills gaps in the workforce and how different careers are evolving over time.
“We're trying to use this data set to make tools that can help both UTs students and other people to make better choices about what subjects they might study or how they might choose to upskill or reskill over a lifetime of learning.”
"In the past, there was a sentiment that people could train and be set for life. But now, everything is changing and people need to constantly re-skill and up-skill.
Now, with responsive education delivered in shorter chunks, regardless of whether you're recently unemployed or long term unemployed, you can do training that helps you develop a base skill in a high demand area and start a new career."
Carolyn Wilcockson says Australia’s successful response to the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the talent of its workforce.
“The good thing is that people are now refocusing on upskilling which means we’re getting better at what we do. And I think we can actually come out on the other side of this incredibly powerful, with an amazing, amazingly skilled workforce.”