The new work mindset in South West Victoria

| July 1, 2019

Technology has always changed the way we work, from the first industrial revolution to now, the fourth. Yet today, that pace of change is unlike any previous generations’ experience, and has significant impacts on the jobs that are available in our economy and the skills needed to succeed.

For workers, the idea of shifting jobs as work changes or disappears can feel onerous, difficult or almost impossible. That’s why we need to shift our focus from jobs to skills to prepare current and future workers most effectively for a rapidly evolving world of work. Our mindset needs to shift to reflect the reality that linear career pathways are no longer the norm.

To tackle this challenge, FYA’s New Work Mindset research report analysed 2.7 million Australian job advertisements. This revealed seven job clusters in the nation’s economy where the required skills are closely related and more portable than previously thought.

It showed that not all jobs require the acquisition of an entirely new skill set, rather, the skill sets of many jobs are able to be transferred and used across a range of jobs.

Our research found that on average, when an individual trains or works in one job, they acquire skills for 13 other jobs. This is because, for many jobs, employers demand very similar skills and most people are skilled for more jobs than they, or potential employers actually realise.

This provides a roadmap for our workforce, helping them understand how they can move between jobs where there is overlap in skill sets. By rethinking workforce planning in Australia, we can make the conversation about our changing economy one of opportunity rather than diminishing job prospects and stressful change.

This research is now being put into action through a collaborative project to address the changing economy in South West Victoria.

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The New Work Mindset in Action: South West Victoria project maps out job opportunities and the skills demanded in the region and provides tools to help current and future workers understand what their career pathway might look like.

A collaboration between South West TAFE and the Foundation for Young Australians with industry partners Lyndoch Living, Western District Health Service and Eventide Homes, this project centres on the region’s growing aged care industry to demonstrate the transferability of skills to both employers and employees.

Released in February, the first part of the project was the New Work Mindset in Action: South West Victoria report.

The report analysed 1.2 million job advertisements from the past three years across the region and the state of Victoria more broadly to map out the changing employment opportunities in the region. The report reveals what employers in the region are demanding and how workers can prepare for these changes.

This research identifies the skills most in-demand in the aged care sector and where the gaps in education are, particularly as it relates to management and leadership skills. These findings will directly inform the broader project, co-designed with industry, educators and students.

This research has been brought to life through a new career navigation tool called Pivot. The tool helps workers think about and prepare for the future of work by learning to identify and value the skills they have.

The project also led to the development of other forms of learning to address skills gaps in the region such as short courses. These help workers upskill or reskill by providing them with a transferable certification that is industry-specific and in-demand by employers.

This project is an example of how we can tangibly help workers shift their mindset away from thinking about the career of a lifetime to a lifetime of careers. This is essential if our current and future workers are to successfully face the challenges of the changing economy.