Professional association for Australia’s ICT sector, the ACS, has welcomed the Labor Government’s recent announcement aimed at driving greater innovation, entrepreneurship and a start-up culture in Australia.
The Labor Government has committed to creating 100,000 university placements for STEM students, a 'Startup Year' for 2000 final year university graduates to kick-start Australia's aspiring young entrepreneurs, and a 'graduate' entrepreneurship visa to encourage and retain talented international students following the completion of their studies.
ACS president, Brenda Aynsley, said the plan supports some of the findings of its Australian Digital Pulse report, released in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics, that was released earlier this year.
The study indicated in the next five years, there will be a projected demand for 100,000 additional ICT workers, and this at a time when domestic ICT graduates numbers are less than 4000 annually.
As such, Aynsley said Labor’s focus on the key issue of increasing the supply of skilled ICT workers and improving digital workforce planning is welcome.
“Australia faces critical shortages in ICT skills, which if not addressed urgently, will retard our economic growth, reduce our standards of living and result in lower job growth in the future. For too long technology education and innovation have been sideline issues. Now we are seeing both the Government and Opposition pushing the importance of our digital future,” Aynsley claimed.
According to Aynsley, Australia must move quickly to better equip itself to grasp the opportunities of the digital age.
“There is no time to lose with other nations already achieving significant success in reorienting their economy, society, education and work. We run the very real risk of being left behind with the negative consequences of inaction and indecision.
“The ACS is eager to work with all political parties in addressing the policy challenges and looks forward to ongoing engagement and discussion,” she added.