Industry Skills Forums 2018 - Key Messages


  • The VET system plays an important role in ensuring employees are ‘job ready’ and in ongoing ‘upskilling’

  • Transferability of skills will become more important as employees seek to change careers throughout their working lives

  • Coordination of career resources for young people is important in ensuring they are aware of the role that VET can play in their career pathway

  • Digital skills will be needed across every occupation – but this should be seen as an opportunity for business and the economy

  • To address skills shortages industry must innovate – by finding technical solutions or building a multi-skilled workforce


  • Automation across many industries is creating opportunities for workers, allowing them to be ‘upskilled’ into diverse roles and reducing mundane job roles.

  • A more effective interface between students and industry would improve access for young people to information about career choices. The critical role that parents play in influencing decision making also needs to be appreciated.

  • A greater understanding of how young people make decisions about careers will enable industry to attract the best and brightest. This generation is seeking a sense of independence.

  • Industry and all levels of government have a shared responsibility to investing in training the workforce of the future.

  • The training system needs to be responsive to changing needs while maintaining its integrity.


  • Attraction and retention of skilled workers is a particular challenge in the top end, with the loss of young people as they move south for opportunities. The movement of people in and out of Indigenous communities can also make traditional training delivery methods difficult.

  • It is important to understand the demand side of skills and workforce issues when developing any training or education policy.

  • Development of education needs to meet the unique needs of each indigenous and remote community. It is important to take individualised approaches that include numeracy and literacy considerations, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

  • There is a significant regulatory burden on the road transport sector but good data management can increase profitability, efficiency and production. The Northern Territory road transport industry faces additional challenges due to road infrastructure and remoteness, which impact on costs and access.

  • Internet access in some remote communities can impede the delivery of education and training. Other models of delivery that consider the unique circumstances of each community should be considered, and in fact are already occurring (such as role-based training).


  • Training now for future skills demand will ‘future proof’ our workforce.

  • Increasingly there is a need for skill sets that are transferable between sectors, facilitating a workforce that is adaptable, able to move between job roles and globally competitive.

  • Real time intelligence about skills demands and workforce development issues is critical for industry, government and the education sector to plan effectively for the future.

  • Mutual respect between younger and older workers allows for transferring of knowledge, skills and ideas – both ways.

  • Smaller businesses often run on tighter margins and keeping up with technological change can be challenging.


  • A more coordinated system of disseminating career information to young people and career counsellors would be beneficial in promoting career paths.

  • While some industries have strategies in place to attract girls to roles to non-traditional roles, the broader promotion of women role models is needed.

  • The promotion of VET as a ‘first choice’ for students entering the tertiary education system could include its role in facilitating interesting and financially rewarding career paths. Traditionally, university has been seen as the preferred option for jobs that attract higher salaries, but this is not necessarily the case anymore.

  • Industry needs to focus on a more comprehensive transition for people heading to retirement age. This ensures their skills are transferred to the existing workforce and allows an older worker to take on a mentoring role if they choose.

  • So called ‘soft skills’ are becoming increasingly important as employers seek workers that can communicate effectively, solve problems and lead others.


  • Digital literacy in Tasmania is a serious challenge for the workforce, particularly as automation and digitisation continues to increase across most industries.

  • A quality dialogue between industry and the labour union movement is essential to tackle the challenges faced by enterprises in adapting to change.

  • Building resilience and agility within the workforce is key in ensuring positive change management during the digital revolution.

  • Technology and the use of ‘big data’ is bringing about efficiency in business operations and improving safety by enabling business to predict system and infrastructure failures. However, businesses are struggling with cybersecurity issues.

  • There are already some real opportunities within Tasmania for the VET and Higher Education sectors to work together to skill the workforce.


  • Digitisation of the workplace offers an opportunity for flexible working arrangements, particularly for women who are juggling family responsibilities.

  • Embracing new technology in the workplace is important, but it is also vital to remember that as human beings the so called ‘soft skills’ are just as critical.

  • All industry stakeholders need to work collaboratively to ensure the rapid changes of Industry 4.0 are embraced so that the workforce is prepared for the future.

  • Understanding the demand side of the workforce is complex but necessary in order to determine how we can elevate certain careers across our sectors.

  • Funding and governance arrangements within the education sector and across State and Federal lines can provide a barrier to effective collaboration and training pathways.


  • Engagement with industry about workforce development needs to be meaningful and offer a real opportunity by those involved to influence change.

  • There is perception by some employers that the VET system architecture is cumbersome and not responsive to change.

  • There is an opportunity for a high level forum that brings together multiple industries to discuss common workforce development challenges and opportunities.

  • In an age of digital transformation we need to train our workforce in resilience and the ability to transfer skills between jobs and sectors.

  • Students looking towards their future careers often default to study at University and there is still a bias against trade education and careers. Promotion of the opportunities available through VET pathways is an important step in overcoming this issue.