“I believe that Training Packages are a national asset, envied by other countries and when used as a system to profile individuals and jobs without limiting only to qualifications, they are very flexible and they need to be future workforce focused”, Wendy Perry.
Using Training Packages on a daily basis across all sorts of different industries I can see how they mostly (depending on sector and skill area) fit current job roles.
In a very practical example, recently Workforce BluePrint identified at a very high level the capability requirements for Economic Priorities and Growth which are:
Asian Century and Cultural Connections
Business and Employment Growth
Creativity and Innovation
Entrepreneurship, Small Business Development and Startups
Exporting and Operating in the Global Economy
Knowledge Management and Partnership Development
Infrastructure Development and Project Management
Research and Development
Sustainability and Heritage
When mapping these capabilities to national Training Packages and possible qualifications it became clear that aside from Training Packages being a national asset, there are gaps for non-employees in particular.
Let’s take a specific capability area, for example skills for business owners, employers, entrepreneurs (including intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs) and startups in:
- Bouncing back and celebrating wins
- Cold calling and gaining relationship credits
- Collaboration and coworking
- Creating and selling a vision
- Customer service retention
- Developing prototypes and models
- Extending networks through networks, targeting specific people and types of people
- Finding problems (as there are solutions in problems)
- Focusing effort, energy and work
- Growing and transforming business
- Getting investment from the client
- Hustling – being confident, setting goals, overcoming obstacles, giving before you receive, paying it forward, practicing and refining what you do, finding the context that people want to talk to you in, letting your guard down and accepting everybody, selling (but it’s not all about selling)
Moreover, when looking at entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and growth, some of the current versions of units of competency are counter intuitive.
For example, entrepreneurs break rules, hustle, growth hack, pitch ideas, validate minimum viable products and find problems. In contrast, units of competency focus on following policies and procedures, building relationships and networks (implying over the longer term), managing sales, making presentations, analysing market opportunities and solving problems.
Best matched qualifications for entrepreneurs based upon the current versions of national Training Packages don’t cover the skills required. Entrepreneurs, business owners and startups choose other forms of development and are increasingly supported by initiatives within the Startup community.
Cross sector emerging job roles that foster entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as new ways of working, may be considered ‘critical job roles’ into the future, for example:
- Brand Ambassadors
- Business Catalysts
- Cluster Facilitators
- Community Collaborators
- Growth Hackers
- Pathway Creators
- Social Media Managers
- Space Hosts (coworking environment)
Disruptive technology creates entrepreneurial opportunities and new job roles as mobile and social activators, as a cloud orchestrator, CIOs, designers and real time developers. Businesses will need to adapt and apply this type of technology to be globally competitive with all job roles requiring an increasing depth and breadth of digital capabilities. How are these emerging roles and big technology trends catered for in national Training Packages?
Policy implications from this analysis suggest a need for:
- active demonstration of understanding of the entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem
- support for contemporary Australian [and School-based] Apprenticeships – jobs like social media officer
- inclusion of skills and competencies for economic growth and entrepreneurship specifically in national Training Packages
- design of priority industry workforce plans and development strategies and building of regional workforce action plans underpinned by skills in Training Packages for the future
- development of a list of critical job roles using contemporary job titles each with a skills profile and best matched qualifications
- VET in schools programs and senior secondary choices that build upon capabilities for economic growth, that are cross industry and encourage entrepreneurship
When trying to profile business owners and entrepreneurs it is clear that skills and competencies are missing from the national set. These competencies could also apply to employees where innovation, creativity, entrepreneurial thinking and learning is encouraged.
“It would be a complete tragedy and waste of significant resources if national Training Packages were not retained albeit reshaped into the future. Units of competency pulled together in a skills profile can describe job roles and skills of individual’s very well reflecting back to best matched qualifications. This is obvious when you ignore the qualifications rules and focus on the job role. Certainly there may be some refinement of the existing skills and packaging rules, alongside benchmarking of what contemporary job roles are titled and what they require now and into the future in terms of skills”, Wendy Perry.
Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, September 2014.