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An introduction to National Skills Commission Data and Projects

The National Skills Commission (NSC) is a new institution established by the federal government and a key implementation of one of the Joyce Review’s major recommendations.

The NSC is set to become the federal government’s portal for developing intelligence on Australia’s workforce in the VET sector – a sector whose importance has been made abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, given the economy’s reliance on frontline and essential workers during lockdown and social distancing.

To provide intelligence about VET, the NSC is developing data bases full of information on:

  • The VET labour market – identifying the shape of its recovery;
  • Workforce changes – determining existing and future skills shortages or surplus;
  • Changing skills needs – analysing structural shifts taking place in the labour market; and
  • VET course pricing – reassessing supply and demand in VET-delivered training and qualifications to make it responsive to emerging and future skills needs.

The focus of NSC is on long-term improvements across the skills system to develop the skilled workforces that will shape the future of work. In this remit it has an overall aim to be a ‘trusted and independent authority in the skills sector’, focused on long-term improvements across the skills system.

The NSC and ‘Data Science’

Importantly, the NSC is adopting ‘data science’ techniques to develop intelligence for the VET sector; so what is data science? Other than being declared the sexiest job title of the 21st century by Harvard Business Review, data science is about the use of scientific methods to extract knowledge from datasets. Data scientists deploy digital tools including data mining, machine learning and big data.

With the NSC’s adoption of data science techniques, the government has made clear that it recognises the importance of accurate and timely labour market information driven by the benefits of new technology tools. The projects that the NSC carries out hold potential for far-reaching capabilities to provide VET sector stakeholders, policy makers and decision makers with powerful information about jobs, skills and the training needed to develop a thriving future economy.

Your Career: Powered by the NSC

Your Career: Powered by the NSC

The National Career Institute's Your Career website is powered by the NSC's data and labour market intelligence. The website presents this information in a way that can be used by career researchers and job hunters to understand and plan their career pathway. Visit the website to explore how this data is used.

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NSC Key Projects

Emerging Occupations

The Emerging Occupations project is a prime example of the NSC’s data-driven approach to analysis of Australia’s labour market. It focuses on emerging skills and how they change existing jobs, by mining data and identifying patterns with machine learning tools to determine new and frequently advertised jobs that are substantially different to occupations already defined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

To date, the NSC has identified and validated 25 emerging occupations that fall within 7 distinct clusters:

Data Analytics

Occupations in this cluster reflect the growing role of data in business decision-making and jobs include data scientists, data analysts and data engineers among others. For example, within VET an individual can study towards a Certificate IV Junior Cyber Security Analyst on their pathway to a future career in data analysis.

Emerging business practices

Within this cluster are found roles like logistics analysts and ‘agile’ coaches (‘agile’ being a project management methodology) which are associated with how workplaces are re-organising roles as they adapt to technological change and new business models.

Logistics-focused VET courses range from Certificate II to Advanced Diploma and can serve as a starting point for individuals seeking a pathway to logistic management roles and even project management.

Health

As one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, health professions like biostatisticians, nurse liaisons and respiratory therapists are key examples of changing specialisations emerging in the field. 

As with many pathways in the health professions, job seekers can build career pathways, perhaps beginning as a Health Support Worker to work towards becoming a biostatistician or training as an Enrolled Nurse before undertaking postgraduate qualifications to become a nurse liaison.

Online Engagement

As technology’s role in business increases, so too do occupations emerge that are associated with growing online presence as business models incorporate digital marketing analytics, social media and user experience metrics.

The VET sector offers foundational pathways from Cert II level onwards to develop skills in these professions, such as Digital Media Designer and Marketing Coordinator (both Cert IV).

Refreshing ANZSCO

A number of jobs long popular in industry – such as fundraisers, researchers and research assistants – are still not reflected in ANZSCO, making it difficult for the skills required to perform these roles align with the training to prepare individuals for such jobs. Improving data around these occupations will help define training and education that meets labour demand.

Regulatory

Digital technologies are impacting all areas of the economy, but arguably none more rapidly than in financial services and energy industries. Digital frontiers require risk analysts, regulatory specialists and energy auditors, amongst other occupations.

Many regulatory professionals of the future workforce will get their career started in VET offerings like the Diploma of Integrated Risk on the path to employment as a Risk Management Coordinator; or a Diploma of Security Risk Management qualifying a trainee as a Security Risk Consultant.

Sustainability Engineering and Trades

In this cluster of occupations some of the key economic drivers of sustainability and renewable energy that are shaping high-growth prospects for the future economy are identified.

Wind Turbine Technicians will likely get their start with a Cert IV in Large Scale Wind Generation – Electrical. Electrical technicians that want to work as solar panel installers can begin with a Cert II as an Electrotechnology Career Start Trainee and as opportunities grow in sustainability, find their career path moves towards renewable energy technology industries.

JEDI

The Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure (JEDI) project entails another data science-driven approach to analysing a wide range of labour market, skills and education data. JEDI uses these data sources to identify what an individual’s skills in their current or previous employment are skills transferrable to future occupations. Along with providing information on skill transferability, JEDI also identifies VET courses that can be taken to upskill or reskill before transitioning to new career opportunities requiring higher (or different) qualifications.

Together, these threads of information intertwine to provide a single, comprehensive source of up-to-date information to jobseekers and prospective trainees alike in the Australian Skills Classification. It enables the NSC to provide information that is timely and accessible and capable of helping individuals and organisations better understand the needs of an economy undergoing rapid change.

The core product of JEDI is the Australian Skills Classification and a tool with which individuals can explore transferability within and between jobs and qualifications with reference to 600 unique skills profiles that have been developed to identify occupations in the Australian labour market.

By using the Skills Match tool on the Job Outlook website, individuals can input their previous and current career information, review the skills that these roles qualify them with and identify what capabilities they possess in their current roles that can be applied in other occupations.

Enhancing the broad opportunities available in VET

These key projects of the National Skills Commission are set to serve the VET sector and the thousands of job seekers in the training and labour markets well. By using cutting-edge technologies to identify where opportunities are arising and where existing jobs are changing to meet growing demand for new skills, the Emerging Occupations and JEDI projects are key resources for employers, employees, educators and trainers alike to take advantage of in preparing for a technology driven future of work.

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If you have any questions about the National Skills Commission data or projects, ask in the comments section and we will reply back with further information or links to where you can find this.

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