The Australian vocational education and training (VET) sector is going through digital disruption. The sector – particularly government-owned TAFEs – is responsible for training and re-training people across a range of industries. Many of those industries are being completely transformed by technology, and TAFEs are being forced to respond.

Cisco was a major sponsor of the 2019 TAFE Directors Australia Study Tour to Canada and the US, hosted by TAFE Directors Australia (TDA). The tour was the fifth that Cisco has been involved in, which focused on the opportunities and changes presented by technology in the VET sector. Cisco’s involvement recognises that any discussion about the future of TAFE needs to have an informed and committed industry voice.

This year’s tour identified three major opportunities for TAFE in the digital economy:

  1. The role of TAFE in equipping people for a dynamic, digitised world
  2. TAFEs creating impact through applied research at scale
  3. TAFEs as the natural partner to help industry skill and upskill the emerging `Blue Tech’ sector

This last theme is particularly exciting, and important to Australia’s future economic competitiveness. Major global skills shortages are projected in many high-technology disciplines, including cyber security, data analytics and myriad others. Many of the new roles being created won’t require a university degree, in part because the jobs are competency-based and partly because industry can’t wait that long for graduates to fill these roles. We see the `Blue Tech’ (transition from Blue Collar) sector being an engine room of the Australian economy in the coming decade, and TAFEs are going to be a critical industry partner.

A stronger industry focus is required in building the evidence base to convince government that TAFEs have an even more critical role to play in the future. Cisco remains a committed partner and advocate for the role of TAFE in the digital economy.

You can find more insights in the report from the 2019 TAFE Study Tour to Canada and the US.


Click to download the report (pdf).