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Industry Skills Forums informing skills forecasts

Industry intelligence gathered at the AIS Skills Forums and Leaders’ Dinners are helping to identify industry skill needs and inform the development of the 2019 IRC Skills Forecasts.

Throughout the forums, many industry-specific examples were cited to illustrate the impact of new technology on the workforce. While there is a perception that digital transformation will lead to jobs disappearing and increased unemployment, the overwhelming view of industry leaders and stakeholders who participated in the discussions was far more optimistic. While jobs will change, the expectation is that new jobs will more than fill the void.

Skills Forecasts are developed by the 11 Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) AIS supports and are submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.  They document real time industry skills needs based on the intelligence gathered by AIS direct from our industry stakeholders and inform skills and workforce development policy.

AIS is developing a booklet that provides an overview of the Forums and associated Leaders’ Dinners. It will be available soon in both electronic format and in hard copy by request.

The booklet’s title (Future Skilling Our Workforce – a national conversation) reflects the aims and objectives of these discussions – to explore skills and workforce development issues in an age of digital transformation. The booklet will identify the high-level key messages that emerged about our capacity as a nation to move forward in an age of digital transformation.

Industry Skills Forums

AIS facilitated the series of Industry Skills Forums across the country between September and November 2018. Respected journalist and author Kerry O’Brien moderated the events across all States and Territories that attracted over 1100 people, with an additional audience watching the Melbourne event that was live streamed online.

Attendees represented small, medium and large businesses (both employers and employees), education providers (from high school, the Vocational Education and Training sector and University), unions, State/Territory and Federal Department officials and peak bodies.

The Industry Skills Forums were set up as the central platform in AIS’ intelligence gathering activity for 2018 allowing AIS to identify industry skills needs, now and into the future.

Each forum consisted of two Panel discussions, facilitated by Kerry O’Brien. The panels were made up of Industry Leaders and focused on the current challenges facing our industries. Panel One discussed “Industry Leadership – new thinking about jobs and careers”. This was followed by Panel Two discussing “Future Skilling our people in an age of digital transformation”.

Following the panel sessions, attendees participated in industry-specific breakout sessions, facilitated by AIS Industry Managers. This provided participants with the opportunity to talk about the issues affecting their industry. The discussions kicked off with looking at the impact of new technologies and then focused on the barriers and opportunities to recruiting skilled employees and the emerging skill needs for each industry.

Industry Leaders’ Dinners

Industry leaders across AIS’ 11 industries met to discuss the high-level workforce and skills issues at a series of Industry Leaders’ Dinners hosted by AIS on the evening preceding each 2018 Industry Skills Forum. Attendees from around the country included leaders from Industry, Government, the education sector, and relevant unions. AIS was delighted that the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer was able to attend the Melbourne dinner.

The dinner meeting discussions were facilitated by Kerry O’Brien and the clear message from attendees was that they provided an excellent opportunity to bring together multiple industries to discuss common workforce development challenges and opportunities.

Many attendees from both the Industry Skills Forums and the Industry Leaders’ Dinners commented on the opportunity that the events provided to engage with industry directly on workforce issues. Kerry O’Brien summarised the sentiment very well when wrapping up the final forum in Adelaide, noting that at every forum around the country, significant issues and ideas were raised about the pathway that we need to take as a nation. He noted that it is critical that these issues have been discussed at this level with the key players and the challenge for AIS now is twofold. The first is to formulate policy advice to take back to government. The second is to continue the conversation.