With reports showing that many students are unprepared for the workforce they’ll enter when they leave school, a push is underway to ensure schools are providing the right education – and connections – to young people.
According to a study by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), more than five million jobs, almost 40% of Australian jobs that exist today, have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years due to technological advancements.
To address this, Swinburne University of Technology recently announced it will join with Microsoft Corp to pilot an employability skills program for school students. The partnership, announced on March 14, aims to empower its students and foster job-ready, employable talent in high-demand technical roles.
The initiative seeks to address projected workforce shortages in AI, cybersecurity, data science and computer science as the world of work rapidly changes due to the evolution of new technologies and staffing models as the gig economy continues to grow and expand across industries.
Through participation in the pilot, Swinburne will contribute to the development of Microsoft’s online employability platform that enables students to discover potential skills and career paths that match their interests and aptitude, as well as supports them in acquiring 21st-century skills to help in their journey towards sustained employability.
“The world of work in the future will look very different from today. With growing global shortages of experts in digital technologies, new ways to meet upcoming workforce needs are required,” says Professor Duncan Bentley, Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
“Graduates need new skill sets to participate in future work, and individuals need to retrain, upskill and maintain skills through a process of lifelong learning that is adaptable and responds to industry needs. Skills shortages have negative impacts on businesses and the students of today will do jobs that don’t yet exist.”
Professor Bentley says graduates need to be prepared for the future of work and lifelong learning.
“By fostering industry connections and embedding industry experience in students’ study, Swinburne is uniquely placed to contribute to workforce transformation and ensure that students are prepared to fulfil their professional purpose,” he said.
He added that working with Microsoft will further enhance students’ capabilities.
Karen Kocher, Global General Manager, 21st Century Jobs, Skills and Employability for Microsoft, said Microsoft wants to empower all people to achieve their career aspirations and make sure they can succeed in a technology-driven society.
“We aim to move people and technology forward together,” Kocher said.
“We are proud to work with Swinburne University of Technology as the university provides extensive industry engagement and technological innovation in Australia.”