The Queensland government has launched a new digital workforce plan with $8 million in funding and a goal of adding 10,000 digital professionals by 2024 to meet an expected surge in jobs.
The plan, developed with ICT industry groups, outlines a three-year vision to develop a larger digital professional workforce, with the first priorities including raising awareness, reviewing current traineeships, a new online directory directory, and more industry input in education programs.
The Queensland plan also includes widening the digital skills pipeline with micro-credentials, a government and industry diversity program, a mature-age digital career pathway pilot, and a new digital trainee, apprentice and graduate development program.
The $8 million in funding comes from the state’s $200 million Future Skills Fund announced last year to reshape TAFE facilities for emerging industries and offer better access for disadvantaged groups.
The Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan, was launched by Minister for Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch on Thursday.
“We want Queenslanders to be first in line for technology-intensive careers, which is an area where we know jobs will be needed in the future,” Ms Enoch said.
“Industry is forecasting that we will need tens of thousands more digital workers in our state by 2024, which is why we are focused on skilling Queenslanders so we can harness these opportunities.”
The plan is based on industry and public consultation conducted in a 10-week period in 2019 and 2020, which included five ministerial roundtables and around 120 surveys.
Most of the Queensland organisations surveyed said they expect an ICT skills shortage in the next year, but current ICT training does not meet their needs because of a lack of quality graduates and on the job training, while 79 per cent said people do not understand the roles available in an ICT careers.
The first priority of the plan is a digital career campaign aiming to reach 300,000 Queenslanders, and will target people impacted by COVID-19, school students, teachers and parents to inform them about the possibilities of a digital profession.
“We are seeing digital innovations coming from agribusiness, manufacturing, building and healthcare, which demonstrates just how vital these digital skills are,” Ms Enoch said.
A new online directory is also slated to host digital career opportunities and skilling opportunities as well as events for professional associations.
A review of the digital traineeships and higher-level apprenticeships that are currently available on the national priority skills list will also be conducted under priority one, while industry will be asked to codesign offerings for any gaps in vocational training, as part of an effort to boost participation in professional digital education pathways.
The second priority aims to widen the digital skills pipeline with actions including accelerating micro-credentials, a mature-age digital career pathway pilot to support older workers transitioning careers, a 100 place diversity program for digital jobs focused on neurodiverse and Indigenous groups, and a digital graduate and apprentice program for 300 people over three years.
Priority three and four covers regional and industry collaboration actions like remote work and roundtables and a partner affiliate program.
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