Training for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Media release

7 August 2018

Vocational education and training (VET) has an important role to play in equipping Australia’s workforce with the skills it will need to address the impact of disruptive technologies, according to a new report released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The Fourth Industrial Revolution — implications of technological disruption for Australian VET shows that while demand for specialist digital skills is expected to rise, it is generic and non-technical skills like team-work, problem solving, creativity and continuous learning that will also be integral to the successful implementation of disruptive technologies in the workplace.

"There has been much discussion and speculation about the type and level of impact that disruptive technologies will have on the Australian workforce," said Dr Mette Creaser, Interim Managing Director, NCVER.

"While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there is growing consensus that Australia's tertiary sector needs to meet the requirements of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.

"This new research looks at the relationship between emerging technologies and required skills and provides some key findings for the VET sector to consider in planning training packages for the future."

The research shows that disruptive technologies will impact on workplace training needs differently depending on an organisation’s size, stage of technological development, and capacity for innovation.

It also identifies barriers that prevent the VET sector from better developing the skills required for addressing and implementing disruptive technologies, including a lack of integration between the VET and higher education sectors, resourcing constraints, and the limitations of training packages to allow for training in an environment of rapid change.

Continual restructuring has also played a significant role in hampering the VET sector's ability to plan and execute the changes required to prepare both itself and VET students to cope with disruptive technologies.

"Steps are already being taken to address some of the issues identified in this research," Dr Creaser said.

"The recently announced Industry 4.0 VET Industry Reference Committee aims to ensure that the VET sector provides students with the skills they will need in the Australian workplaces of the future."

The report The Fourth Industrial Revolution — implications of technological disruption for Australian VET is available from

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

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