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NSW launches initiative to bridge projected digital skills gap by 2030
Wed, 29th Nov 2023

The Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan, announced the NSW Digital Skills & Workforce Compact today. It aims to tackle the predicted digital skills gap in New South Wales. This groundbreaking scheme brings together the NSW Government, the digital industry, as well as the education and training sectors.

The pressing need for this initiative is underscored by an alarming projection: a shortfall of 85,000 digital workers in NSW by 2030. This was highlighted during the official launch of the Digital Compact at the NSW Parliament House by Minister Whan.

There is a statewide consensus to address the matter urgently. The Compact has garnered the participation of 37 Compact Partners, composed of top-tier industry leaders. Collectively, these partners interact with a whopping 1.7 million students and represent over 340,000 digital workers across NSW.

By promoting digital careers throughout the State, the Compact aims to facilitate the progress of technological careers amongst traditionally under-represented groups such as women, First Nations people and those living in regional or remote areas.

The initiative is also set to support the industry in crafting and executing new employment pathways, thereby providing new workers with on-the-job training opportunities paving the way for a lasting career in the digital industry.

Positive future outcomes envisaged by the Digital Compact include transforming the perception of digital careers, fostering diversity, and creating welcoming and productive workspaces. It aims to collaborate with industry partners to amplify fresh training opportunities for tech roles such as traineeships and work experiences. Also, it is tasked with extending the reach of mentoring and networking programs, and increasing opportunities for NSW residents to retrain or upskill in tech-related roles.

The compact also plans to form a collaborative platform with universities, TAFE, school curriculum providers, and industry experts to create a Digital Education Forum. This forum is dedicated to enhancing tech education and fostering stronger industry partnerships.

Minister Whan celebrated the launch of the Compact by saying, "It’s terrific to sign this landmark agreement as the NSW Government unites with industry and education leaders to proactively tackle the looming digital skills shortage. This partnership is a testament to our commitment to shaping a digitally empowered future for NSW."

Adding further importance to the initiative, Chair of the NSW Skills Board and CEO of Microsoft ANZ, Steven Worrall, stated that the Compact is vital for meeting the projected shortfall and promoting a sector that reflects the diversity of NSW. He forecasted that by 2030, Compact Partners intend to have 20% of new hires coming from alternative pathways. "We believe the Compact will help to provide a pipeline of diverse talent to fill these high paying, secure jobs that are being created in NSW’s digital sector," Worrall concluded.