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Australia is facing a skills deficit. Edtech startup Future Amp wants to fix it.

By May 2, 2020October 22nd, 2021No Comments

I recently joined the Cohosts of new GameChangers Podcast Adriano di Prato and Phillip Cummins to chat about the enterprise capabilities needed in the workers of the future, why we need to start up-skilling the next generation NOW, and how education must critically shift to meet the skills and needs of Industry4.0 – or Australia will be left behind in the new world economy.

It’s probably fair to say that, although we had a pretty good crack, we didn’t solve for any of that in 35 minutes!

But we did have a challenging conversation about the calcification and constraints of the current education system. And asked questions including:

1. What should new models of education look like in the 21st century?

2. How do we solve the growing disconnect between education systems and labour markets to meet Industry4.0 needs?

3. What is the purpose of education in the current context of wicked problems like climate change, global economic disruption, COVID-19 and societal transformation?

4. And how can teaching and learning be designed to deliver holistic education, which includes lifelong learning and emotional competencies?

We did agree that educators, industry and edtech solutions like Future Amp and girledworld– and many others – needed to work together to break down silos and build stronger bridges between education and industry, thereby better preparing young people today for the workforce needs and requirements of tomorrow.

And we dug deep on why equipping students with the employability and transferable skills they need to thrive and compete in a tech-driven, ever-changing marketplace is crucial to the health of Australia’s future economy. Because today’s students = tomorrow’s leaders, job creators and future custodians.

Despite our blue sky banter, the sobering reality is that Australia’s international PISA scores have been going down compared to other OECD countries since 2000. And according to the 2018 Gonski 2.0 ‘Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools’, the biggest challenges Australia faces in restoring its reputation as one of the best education systems on the planet include a focus on:

1. Equipping students with soft or enterprise skills (ie: problem-solving and critical thinking) to combat automation due to exponential technologies

2. Altering the career education curriculum so students are far better prepared for life and work beyond the school system

3. Transitioning from an industrial style mass education model to a more customised and differentiated delivery model to allow “continuous diagnosis of a student’s learning needs and progress”

4. Provision of a curriculum that adapts and responds to occupational, industry and workforce trends to keep pace with the changing landscape

But despite these identified recommendations which could effect positive systemic change in education if implemented, the Gonski reforms have been slow to translate to action.

This is primarily because in the complex architecture of schooling governance, day-to-day demands of teaching and learning, and pedagogical tangle of state-based curriculum, whilst there is agreement about what has to change at national level, as for actually executing on those changes …. well, there is still a tonne of work to do.

In the meantime, the world keeps throwing up new wicked challenges (2020 currently leading the field) which sideline systemic education reform priorities, the workforce continues to transform and contract day by day – and the runway shortens as Australia stares down the barrel of a looming national skills deficit predicted to hit 29 million by 2030.

To be fair, delivering future-focused, flexible and responsive education and training systems for educators and students is easier said than done. It will take collaboration, innovation and boldness to adapt more quickly, adopt more agile solutions anchored to real-world contexts – and focus on the long-term outcomes for Australia going forward.

The good news is the Game Changers podcast aims to tackle these complex issues through breakthrough conversations with innovators, entrepreneurs and educators across the planet.

This is not just to shine a spotlight on the ideas shaping the landscape of 21st century schooling but to open dialogue with cross-disciplinary game changers, and explore whether the future of teaching and learning in Education4.0 looks altogether different from what’s in plain sight now.

Series 1 guests include Catherine Misson, Peter Hutton, Madeleine Grummet, Mark Hutchinson, Stephanie McConnell, Yong Zhao, Valerie Hannon and Henry Musoma.

Series 2 guests include Jan Owen AM, Conrad Wolfram, Deborah Netolicky and Stephen Harris, Pernille Ripp, Pasi Sahlberg, Nikki Kirkup and Greg Miller.

You can tune into the episode about Future Amp and girledworld here or by pasting this link in your browser: You can check out Game Changers here.

To learn more about Future Amp – a real-world career education and future skills platform currently piloting with the University of Melbourne and schools across Australia, see here or reach out to our team at [email protected]