Industry joins forces to boost digital literacy


Stuart Corner
Contributor

In March this year, with COVID-19 starting to impact the Australian economy, the Federal Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology Karen Andrews convened a virtual roundtable of technology company CEOs with a call to action to help with the Australian economic recovery.

One idea to emerge from that roundtable was to do something to help Australians acquire new skills that would make them more ‘future ready’ and increase their chances of finding employment.

Adobe took up this challenge, as Jennifer Mulveny, Adobe Government Relations and Public Policy Director, Asia Pacific explains. “We were inspired by the Minister’s initiative and eager to contribute. We’d already been doing some thought leadership on skills, so our managing director Suzanne Steele volunteered to lead that stream.”

When Mulveny looked at how this commitment could be put into practice she soon discovered that IT companies possess a wealth of free online training material that could enable Australians to gain new skills and enhance their existing skills.

Skills Finder
Building skills for recovery: Adobe led the team that created an Australian digital skills hub

This material covered both companies’ own products and services and general IT topics, but was spread across every company website, with no consistent classification or descriptions. So, a means had to found to bring all these courses into a common classification system and make them easily accessible.

The result is Skillfinder.com.au, launched on 15 October. It brings together free courses on a wide range of topics from multiple companies, but most importantly provides tools that enable potential students to easily locate courses on topics of interest, and easily get details on the content and level – beginner, intermediate or advanced — of these courses.

Viewers can see at a glance the level and duration of a course and filter by topic, level, duration and provider. A conversational chatbot makes it easy for users to query Skill Finder for the topic and level of training they seek. Courses are grouped under 12 categories with 144 sub-categories.

The project to create Skill Finder was led by Adobe, which brought in Balance Internet, a Melbourne based developer of eCommerce websites and an Adobe partner that specialises in building and supporting sites using Adobe’s Magento Commerce eCommerce software.

Adobe provided Magento Commerce and Adobe Analytics for free. Balance Internet built Skill Finder free of charge. Skill Finder is hosted on AWS. Course material has been contributed by local IT companies Atlassian, Canva, MYOB and Xero and multinationals Adobe, AWS, Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Google, Salesforce and Twitter. Several others have offered to contribute course content.

Once the website had been created, Mulveny says all the training material offered had to be assessed for suitability and classified appropriately in order to populate the site.

Mulveny says the project has attracted overseas interest. “The participants are all global companies. My counterparts in Singapore and the US are ringing me and asking if they can do the same thing in their region.” She says early discussions are underway to do this.

Skill Finder uses Adobe Analytics to measure usage of the site, which Mulveny says is essential if the site is to fulfil its purpose of getting Australians into jobs.

“Since the site launched on the 15 October, we’ve had more than 10,000 people go onto skillfinder.com.au. We know that around 3,000 people have clicked on ‘enrol’. Fourteen percent of those have enrolled on a second course.”

The top five courses are: Basic Principles of Design (Adobe); Build Your Business Analyst Career (Salesforce); AI Concepts (IBM); Build a Backlog With Easy Agile User Story Maps (Atlassian; Learn Jira Basics (Atlassian). The top five course categories are: Coding; Business Tools; Data Analysis; Cloud Computing; Digital Marketing.

Adobe is running a campaign on Instagram to target younger Australians and is jointly funding with AWS a paid media campaign via online and radio promotions.

It’s also in discussion with Seek to co-promote Skill Finder and link appropriate courses to open jobs. Adobe is also discussing collaboration with Year 13, a website that offers career and life advice to school leavers and helps them find post-school options.

This story was produced as a partnership between InnovationAus and Adobe.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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