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ACS launches NSW Digital Skills Compact amid looming skills shortage
Fri, 1st Dec 2023

ACS, Australia's professional association for the technology sector, has partnered with 36 other key industry groups and organisations to boost technological capacity in NSW by launching the NSW Digital Skills Compact. This collaboration aims to address the current skills shortage within the digital sector, which is projected to escalate to 85,000 workers in NSW by 2030.

The NSW Digital Skills Compact, supported by various stakeholders from the technology, education, and training sectors and the NSW Government, has rolled out an action plan spanning seven years. This initiative addresses the acute need to enhance digital skills in the state's workforce and recognises the necessity of these skills in the modern economy.

Siobhan Casey, ACS Chief Growth Officer, expressed enthusiasm about the Action Plan outlined in the Compact, emphasising its effectiveness in tackling the significant IT skills shortage in the state. Casey highlighted ACS's collaboration with the NSW Government, TAFE, and other stakeholders to reshape the perception of technology careers, enhance diversity in the sector, and contribute to the development of IT education skills.

Casey commended the NSW Government's initiative for acknowledging the significance of ensuring that every citizen has access to essential digital skills and knowledge required for participation in the modern economy.

Siobhan Casey said: "The Compact's Action Plan lays out a great roadmap towards addressing the state's critical IT skills shortage."

"At ACS, we are excited to be working with the NSW Government, TAFE, and other key stakeholders in helping redefine the perception of technology careers, amplifying the sector's diversity and assisting in building IT education skills."

"This initiative from the NSW Government recognises the importance of every citizen having access to the digital skills and knowledge essential for the modern economy," said Casey. 

The initiative follows ACS's 2023 Digital Pulse report launched earlier this month, highlighting the challenges faced by the Australian workforce due to the implementation of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

The NSW Digital Skills Compact solidifies the state's commitment to future-proofing its workforce in anticipation of emerging critical technologies that promise to reshape society in the coming years.

Focused on revolutionising the perception of digital careers and retaining tech students and early-career workers, the Compact plans to fortify the digital workforce's diversity, promote digital traineeships and offer retraining opportunities to existing workers.

This broad spectrum approach is outlined in the Compact's 'Six Pillars of action', targeting career perception, training, diversity, job guidance, responsive training, and governmental support.

The Action Plan maintained within the Compact aims to change how people perceive digital careers, address the leaks within the training and careers pipeline, champion diversity in the digital workforce, guide people into digital training jobs and adjust training to be more responsive to industry needs. Finally, it emphasises utilising government levers to stimulate digital job growth.

This initiative marks a significant move by industry leaders, associations, and the NSW government to work collectively to future-proof the state's workforce by equipping it with critical digital skills. It showcases a substantial recognition of the importance of digital competency in the ever-evolving modern economy.