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Risks and rewards in accelerating technology and social shifts

Accelerating technology and social shifts are driving massive change in the economy, with fast-paced innovation transforming industries old and new and generating tremendous new opportunities for value creation. But Australian Students are at risk of being left behind, according to a just-released Commonwealth Bank Jobs of the future report.

In the report's introduction, futurist Ross Dawson describes a near-future very different world for employment opportunities. Rising connectivity is continuing to enable digital disruption and more jobs now than ever before can be performed anywhere in the world. Meanwhile the rise of machine capabilities is beginning to impact a number of specific tasks.

The capabilities and skills that will be most valued are changing and skills in the disciplines of the future are science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In fact, the forecast shows that 45 per cent of employers are seeking to increase STEM qualified staff over the next five to 10 years.

But Australian education has fallen behind the skills demand. There has been a steady decline in maths and science literacy among 15-year-olds. In maths literacy, Australia has declined from being one of the highest performing countries in 2000 to performing little better than the OECD average in 2018. There are also fewer STEM qualifications at tertiary level, with particularly low participation among female students.

The report profiles three 2017 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award Fellows, Master Teacher Sarah Matthews at Bayside State College Qld; Deputy Principal of Park State High School, Qld; and Chad Bliss Principal of the Canobolas Rural Technology High School, NSW.


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