Qld cranks new skills program

James Riley
Editorial Director

Industry and government may need to consider more ways to increase the growth rate of STEM qualifications, a new report released by Jobs for Queensland has warned.

The findings of the Anticipating Future Skills: Jobs growth and alternative futures for Queensland to 2022 report identifies STEM qualifications – long been viewed as critical skills for the future – are projected to grow at a much slower rate than other fields, such as society and culture, and creative arts.

Despite slow STEM skills growth, the professional, scientific, and technical services industry – along with healthcare and social assistance, and education and training industries – will be where more than half of all new workers will be employed by 2022.

The research used economic modelling and scenario planning to examine possible futures for work in 19 industries and 15 regions in Queensland. The scenarios that were considered included business as usual in 2022, technological change, changing workforce through migration, and external impact.

Employment levels in Queensland is projected to increase by between 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent from 2.37 million in 2017 to more than 2.56 million by 2022, according to the report. Of those, more than one-third of certificate-qualified workers are projected to have an engineering and related technologies qualification by 2022.

Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said the report underscores the importance of actively planning for skilling Queenslanders for the future.

“We know that it is vital we invest in training Queenslanders to ensure we can provide the best skilled workers to fill the jobs of the fastest growing industries,” she said.

“The research details where the skilled jobs will be needed and what level of qualifications will be required.”

The Queensland workforce is also projected to become more educated, with the number of workers without post-school qualifications falling by between one and 2.6 per cent from 2017, the study found for every scenario.

Surprisingly, when examining the effects of the technological impact scenario, technicians and trade workers are expected to experience greatest occupational growth due to the expansion of industries such as construction, manufacturing, and other services.

The report is expected set the scene for the Skills and Industry Summit to be held at the end of the month where the head of the state’s industry, small business, universities, the training sector, unions and governments will come together to discuss the report and the future of work.

In addition, former Queensland University of Technology vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake has been named as the new leader of Jobs Queensland, taking over interim chair Peter Henneken, who is to continue as a board member.

Ms Fentiman said Mr Coaldrake would help Jobs Queensland build on existing work, including delivering research focused on the future of work, how to best support social enterprise, and how to strengthen policy outcomes.

“He is well-equipped to build on the success of Jobs Queensland and continue the progress being made to develop a skilled workforce for the state’s key industries and support growing regional economies,” she said.

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