Fed Govt earmarks $5m for tech skills ‘passport’

Skills passport

The Morrison Government has pledged $5 million, if re-elected, to develop a new technology skills ‘passport’ that it says will help open career pathways to the technology sector.

Developed by the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN), the new passport will provide evidence of prior learning to employers, serving as an all-in-one record of a person’s tertiary (university and VET) qualifications.

Announcing the proposed scheme, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert said the new technology skills passport would “expand access to recognition of prior learning and get people qualified with the skills industry needs and into a job faster”.

The ATN, a collective of six technical universities based across Australia, said it will partner with vocational education providers and the tech industry to recognise and co-design skills, as well as provide career support to help individuals match their skills to tech industry demands.

Robert added that the partnership also aligns with work “already underway to achieve the longer-term vision of creating an integrated tertiary system”. This, he said, will provide “a single point of entry for Australians to ‘rack and stack’ credentials across the university and VET sectors”.

Australia needs around 300,000 new tech workers by 2025 to meet demand, according to the ATN, alongside 12,000 more university and VET graduates and 60,000 more upskilled and reskilled workers “than we are currently preparing”.

ATN chair professor Iain Martin said the initiative answers the peak body’s call for the Government to partner with universities and industry to deliver solutions that address Australia’s skills needs.

“A three-way partnership between universities, industry and the Government is crucial to delivering better outcomes for industry, workers and the economy,” Martin said.

The ATN, which was established in 1999, brings together six of Australia’s ‘real-world universities’ – Curtin University, Deakin University, RMIT University, The University of Newcastle, University of South Australia and University of Technology Sydney – focused on finding solutions to issues facing economy and society.

The Canberra-based Network describes itself as “the leading university peak body with a track record of advocating and shaping positive policy outcomes at all levels of government.”