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NSW’s Collaborative Path to Closing the Skills Gap

The New South Wales (NSW) Government is working to address the anticipated shortage of 85,000 digital workers in the region by 2030. In a collaborative effort, government officials, leaders from the digital industry, and education and training providers are joining forces to bridge the looming digital skills gap. The Minister for Skills, TAFE, and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan, recently officiated the launch of the NSW Digital Skills and Workforce Compact at NSW Parliament House, marking a significant milestone in the initiative.

Image adapted from 2023-25 NSW Digital Skills – Compact Action Plan

The collaboration involves 37 compact partners, comprising the highest echelons of industry representation. Together, these partners hold a considerable reach, influencing 1.7 million students and representing over 340,000 digital workers in NSW.

The scope of the compact is extensive, aiming to promote digital careers across the state, with a specific focus on encouraging traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, First Nations people, and individuals in regional and remote areas to pursue tech-related professions.

At its core, the compact seeks to transform the perception of digital careers, fostering diversity in the sector and creating welcoming and productive workspaces. Recognising the urgency of the skills shortage, the partnership is committed to developing and implementing new employment pathways, providing on-the-job training experiences for individuals aspiring to embark on a long-term career in the digital industry.

The ambitious goals of the NSW Digital Compact are outlined in a comprehensive set of milestones. Firstly, the compact aims to alter societal perceptions of tech careers, emphasising diversity and inclusivity within the sector. By collaborating with industry partners, the initiative plans to expand and enhance new pathway programs for tech roles, including traineeships and work experiences. Additionally, efforts will be made to extend the reach of mentoring and networking programs to engage a more diverse audience.

Recognising the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the rapidly evolving tech landscape, the compact seeks to provide increased opportunities for the people of NSW to reskill or upskill in tech-related roles. This not only addresses the immediate skills shortage but also positions the workforce to meet the evolving demands of the digital industry.

A crucial component of the collaborative effort is the establishment of a Digital Education Forum. This platform, created in collaboration with universities, TAFE institutions, school curriculum providers, and industry experts, is dedicated to enhancing tech education and fostering stronger industry partnerships. The forum serves as a proactive measure to ensure that educational institutions are aligned with industry needs and that students are equipped with the skills required to thrive in the digital workforce.

The Minister Steve Whan underscores the significance of this landmark agreement, emphasising the commitment of the NSW Government to shape a digitally empowered future for the state. Beyond just bridging the skills gap, the NSW Digital Compact is laying the foundation for a resilient and inclusive digital workforce.

The Minister highlights that the compact represents a substantial opportunity for government, industry, and education leaders to work together in changing people’s perceptions of ‘tech’ and expanding the inclusivity of the sector.

The Chair of the NSW Skills Board and CEO of ANZ branch of the partnering tech firm stressed the research commissioned by the NSW Skills Board, projecting a shortfall of 85,000 digital workers by 2030. To address this gap, the compact partners aim to achieve 20% of new hires coming from alternative pathways by the same year. The Chair believes that the compact will play a pivotal role in providing a pipeline of diverse talent to fill high-paying, secure jobs that are being created in NSW’s rapidly growing digital sector.

The NSW Digital Compact Partners include the NSW Government, several major global companies, the Institute of Applied Technology Digital, TAFE NSW, Tech Council of Australia, and all NSW/ACT universities. This diverse coalition reflects a collective commitment to building a robust and inclusive digital workforce, ensuring that NSW remains at the forefront of digital innovation in the years to come.


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