Future jobs – which foundation skills for the INFOTRONICS age?

Accessed CEDA https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Australias-future-workforce.pdf p202 19/4/16
Accessed CEDA https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Australias-future-workforce.pdf p202 19/4/16
 “The future is closer than you think”………………. “All these things are not just coming. We are in them.”

Chief Executive, Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen

Accessed 4/4/16 Google Atlas robot 2016 video
Accessed 4/4/16 Google Atlas robot 2016 video

If you’re not sure what the Infotronics Age may hold then have a look at:

  • the Google Atlas Next Generation 2016 robot in action (that’s it in the above photo) and think about its capacity to work 24/7, and remain free of injury!
  • the human-like robot , Sophia, in the video posted by Wendy Perry (Workforce Planning) who recently attended the US 2016 SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive festival.Ponder potential roles – predictions suggest the intelligence capacity will supercede human potential – faster, cheaper!
  • the IBM Watson computer competing in the US TV show Jeopardy and that was 2 years ago! What has been developed since?

OR explore these documents:

future trends: the big picture
  • A 15 year-old today should expect to have 17 different jobs in five sectors in his or her working life
  • Two-thirds of the tertiary study currently being undertaken is towards jobs which soon won’t exist
  • Three-quarters of all new jobs will require science, maths or technology proficiency.

Chief Executive, Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen

The CSIRO 2016  Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled World Data 61 suggests the speed of change will be rapid and unprecedented – “Whilst Australia’s workforce is continually changing the current period in history is characterised by a combination of forces likely to be associated with greater, faster and different transitions than previously experienced.”

The CSIRO Data 61 lists 6 key megatrends (also summarised here Huffington post )

  1. The explosion of device connectivity and artificial intelligence performing tasks more quickly, safely  and efficiently
  2. ‘Platform’ economics with porous boundaries
  3. Less jobs with large organisations, The rise of entrepreneurs creating their own jobs/work
  4. Divergent employment profiles
  5. The rising bar – increased technology and complexity required to tasks
  6. Employment growth in the service and education sector – towards a knowledge economy

The video at the bottom of the CSIRO Data 61 summary emphasises the intent of this document to:

  • offer insight to the future workforce predictions.
  • stimulate thinking, discussion and strategies about how best to position the Australian workforce for the changes ahead.

The good thing for us (in the education and training world) is that this report, and others,  predict education and training will have a significant role  – if it remains agile enough to ADAPT, SURVIVE and THRIVE  (Deloitte 2016) to the future trends and indicators

Which skills are required to transition successfully into and with the future?

We know that Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills are important contributors to Australia’s innovation and economic growth in a global market; these skills are what employers ‘want’.

Current information also reveals employers want ….. ENTERPRISE SKILLS.

During the three years 2012 – 2015 the Foundation for Young Australians scanned 4.2 million job advertisements gathered from more than 6,000 websites, to track and collate trends in skills required now to enter the workforce. The final report, The New Basics reveals

Enterprise skills are transferable skills that enable young people to engage with a complex world and navigate the challenges they will inherit.
Enterprise skills are not just for entrepreneurs; they are skills that are required in many jobs. They have been found to be a powerful predictor of long term job success.
created by LLNandVETmeetingplace 4/16
created by LLNandVETmeetingplace 4/16

In a highly competitive environment workplaces want people who can:

  • track (mega) trends
  • predict, and solve dilemmas
  • develop that ‘difference’ or edge
  • communicate with a stand-out style
  • embrace the tools, inter connectivity and capacity that technology offers

Using data from the Future for Young Australian’s report, this Financial Review article expands on the skills representing ‘ENTERPRISE’.

accessed http://www.afr.com/leadership/careers 26/4/16/jobs/graduate-employers-offer-9000-more-for-presentation-digital-skills-20160419-go9omc 26/4/16
accessed http://www.afr.com/leadership/careers 26/4/16/jobs/graduate-employers-offer-9000-more-for-presentation-digital-skills-20160419-go9omc 26/4/16

“Across almost every profession, no matter what it was and no matter what the technical skill was, employers were privileging these skills.”

“We used to call them soft skills but now they clearly are core to the marketplace in Australia and we suspect globally around what employers need.”


Akin to these skills are trends IN THE NATURE OF WORK, REPRESENTED BY increases in:
  • opportunities for entrepreneurial approaches and start-up businesses
  • casualisation of the workforce
  • people working in shared co-working spaces


iStock photo 3/5/16
iStock photo 3/5/16
Which foundation skills are required to transition successfully into and with the future?

The 10 JOB SKILLS YOU WILL NEED IN 2020 captures a broad set of  ‘drivers’ and attempts explain or describe the cognitive activities, skills, and tasks in the highly connected global world. It’s from these tasks we can begin to consider – which foundation skills?

2014 (US) Top10onlinecolleges  – 10 job skills you will need in 2020
Drivers of change
Which foundation skills? THE FIVE ACSF core (lln) skills UNDERPIN THE CSfW EMPLoYABILITY SKILLS
Extreme longevity


Smart machines and systems


Computational world


New media Ecology


Superstructured organisations


Globally connected world

 1 Virtual collaboration – work productively and drive engagement

2 Understand concepts across multiple disciplines

3 Sense making – determine the deeper meaning

4 Cognitive load management

5 Cross cultural competence

6 Social Intelligence

7 Translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts

8 Assess and develop new media content to persuade

9 Design Mindset

10 Proficiency with novel and creative solutions thinking

ACSF core skills:

  • Learning
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Numeracy

AT LEVELS 3- 4- 5


Interact with others

  • Speak listen understand interpret and act
  • Get the message across
  • Connect and work with others
  • Recognise and utilise diverse perspectives

Get the work done

  • Plan and organise, be organised
  • Identify and solve problems
  • Create and Innovate

Work in a digital world

  • Connect with others
  • Access organise and present information
Considerations for us, the trainers


NCVER Beddie 2015 The outcomes of education and training: What the Australian research is telling us, 2011 – 2014

  • Constantly emerging technologies and rapid shifts in the labour market mean that the 21st Century teacher has to navigate uncharted territory (p26)
  • boosting literacy and numeracy and STEM skills is a priority for the entire population (p31)
  • The VET sector needs to look beyond the competencies currently required by industry. More emphasis should be placed on foundational knowledge and building the capacity to learn. (p31)

CEDA (p29) predicts there may be tension between job-ready and broad-based competencies , suggesting the need for both and the capacity to integrate both should be guided by the overarching policy framework .

What initiatives TO ADAPT, SURVIVE AND THRIVE can we implement in our RTOs, with the Industry Reference Groups, and the Skills Service organisations?

When will SCENARIO PLANNING happen; where trends that will influence education and training are considered?

2 HIGH ORDER COGNITIVE SKILLS are the order of the day

For example, The Australian Association for Maths Teachers and the AIG prepared Identifying and supporting Quantitative skills of 21st Century workers 2014 reports the range of skills includes:

  • creating formulas within spreadsheets
  • modelling, including understanding thresholds and constraints
  • using extrapolation and extrapolating trends
  • recognising anomalies and errors
  • concise and clear communication of judgement
  • fast and often multi-stepped calculations and estimations

The New Basics points to embracing pedagogy with inquiry approaches, and collaborative activities involving real-world scenarios.

Which of the COMPETENCIES EXPECTED IN HIGH PERFORMANCE WORK ORGANISATIONS are you providing opportunities to develop?

  • Collaborative learning
  • Collaborative communication
  • Technology/digital/elearning
  • Media literacy and information literacy
  • Intrapersonal communication skills
  • Self-direction, emotional intelligence
  • Problem solving, critical thinking
  • Initiative, idea generating

3 REMAIN ABREAST of developments in our, industries, and those allied to it

The CSIRO Data 61 video and OECD Skills Outlook 2013 report, and The New Basics (p22) advise we must remain informed about ‘live’ industry trends so that instead of learners relying on heresay, we OFFER RELEVANT AND CURRENT ADVICE:

  • trends in workforce areas CSIRO p 19
  • provide quality career guidance CSIROp 27,
  • continue to promote educational attainment CSIRO p 23
  • provide easy to find, up to date information and guidance


With competition so tight, Industry experts claim the cover letter is on it’s deathbed and the CV is on life support’. ‘Recruiters are now urging younger workers to concentrate on strengthening their social media presence and networking ability if they want to stand out of the overcrowded pack.’

How are you REMAINING ABREAST WITH CURRENT AND FUTURE WORKFORCE TRENDS? What networks, collaborative connections and info sources are available to you?


INFOSYS commissioned the Future Foundation to undertake research which involved interviewing 1000 young people 16-25 across 9 countries, including Australia. The report was prepared to find out what is on the minds of these young people, some preparing for the workforce and others involved in it. The outcome reports valuable insight to contribute to the debates and discussion about preparing ‘those who will truly master the fourth industrial revolution’.  This summary article reports YOUNG AUSTRALIANS ARE THE LEAST PREPARED.

This INFOSYS Infographic, offers 3 optimistic signs and 2 concerns  revealed by young people:

  • On the brighter side: a valuable message: To remain agile – PREPARE FERTILE, INQUISITIVE MINDS PREPARED FOR A LIFETIME OF LEARNING.

Might THE NEED TO REMAIN AGILE be relevant to us all, not just those we teach/train and aim to inspire?



4 thoughts on “Future jobs – which foundation skills for the INFOTRONICS age?

  1. llnandvetmeetingplace May 17, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    Hi Jim

    We are finding the predictions and developments interesting. Whilst these developments are ‘here’ for some, they are ‘over there’ for others. Our challenge will always be enabling individuals to access what’s ‘here’ and remaining on top of current trends.


  2. eslclaudie July 28, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    We are all still in the Stage of Innocence (trial and error) as far as the “Infotronics Age” is concerned! We try to stay abreast, predict, prepare as best we can – for our students, for ourselves. Your interesting and relevant piece informs me here in Canada (Adult ESL Instructor).Isn’t that awesome (in the original AND the contemporary sense of the word)? Thanks.


    • llnandvetmeetingplace July 29, 2016 / 2:11 pm

      Hi Claudie, thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts – from Canada. Yes, we are very much in the stage of innocence in many ways – yet there are Infotronic developments spiraling forward around us. Here (in Australia) there will be a lag between the needs of industry and graduates entering the workforce now, and the needs of the workplace as defined in the training documents developed previously (that guide what courses should cover).

      Liked by 1 person

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