Australian Information Industry Association


Skills Policy Position Statement

Update - 4 December 2015: AIIA has now released our Skills Policy Position Statement

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Federal and State Governments must take action to ensure Australia’s current and future workforce has the knowledge, skills and motivation to maximise Australia’s productivity and global competitiveness. This includes opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills.

AIIA is committed to supporting a national, strategic STEM agenda and to assisting Government execute an effective national STEM program supported by agreed milestones and metrics to monitor progress and report outcomes.

AIIA supports immigration policies that address the shortfall of Australia’s workforce needs, but the goal must be a holistic, systemic approach to building Australia’s future skills capability.

Key policy principles:

  • Australia’s approach to STEM is:
    • holistic (incorporates all STEM disciplines),
    • inclusive (includes opportunities for women, disadvantaged groups, all levels and types of education and all regions) and
    • integrated (with creative and other disciplines)
  • Government and industry collaborate to achieve national outcomes


The nature of work is changing. Digital disruption and the increasing casualization of the workforce means the skills Australians need to participate in work have changed, and because they continue to change, also need to be updated.  Life-long learning, skills that support self-employment and new entrepreneurial skills are increasingly important.

Australia needs to build capability for a 21st century global economy that is driven by data, digital technologies and innovation. This requires an appropriately skilled workforce that can ‘create’ not just ‘use’ technology.

A workforce that has leading STEM skills, including deep knowledge of subject, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills, will enable a differentiated, agile and innovative economy that is globally competitive.  Countries that led in STEM (e.g. Germany and Sweden) also rank high on innovation which is foundational to Australia’s competitiveness and prosperity.

Priority Action Required
1. AIIA strongly recommends that Government address the current bespoke, fragmented approach to building STEM capability by developing an overarching STEM Framework that incorporates four foundation components:
  • Integration with the curriculum
  • Teacher interest and capability
  • A compelling and relevant narrative
  • Clear outcome metrics, supported by appropriate forward indicators.

The STEM Framework should be used to inform development of a national STEM Investment Strategy and Action Plan.

2. Development of a national STEM Investment Strategy, supported by a well-articulated Action Plan, milestones, targets and measures.  This includes: mapping outcomes against workforce needs; and tracking the maturity of Australia’s innovation capability relative to increased STEM capability.
  • STEM capability is integrated into all education, professional and business capability development processes.
  • The Entrepreneur Infrastructure programme raises the profile of STEM based skills in business.
  • A national education strategy is developed incorporating all aspects of STEM including inquiry and project-based learning, with a focus on real-world contexts and situations.  The framework should be centrally driven and funded, include teaching standards and support to execute STEM components of the new Australian Curriculum. It should include decentralised program initiatives and partnerships and link STEM activities in schools, TAFE, vocational and higher education with industry, business and the professions.
  • Government work with industry to recommend and help develop successful models of collaboration for people with STEM skills to work with business.
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship are incorporated into the broad range of university degrees, including STEM professions.
  • AIIA advocates that the Federal Government act on the recommendations made by AIIA in our response to the Chief Scientist’s Vision for a Science Nation paper, with priority given to the following recommendations.
3. Government, industry and educators work together to develop a minimum standard for technology levels in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) standards for school children and general population. The existing national standard could be applied.

AIIA will ...
  1. AIIA will actively encourage members to support efforts by government and education and training institutions to increase student engagement and enrolments in STEM related subjects and courses.
  2. AIIA will engage with government and education institutions to develop teaching and learning strategies and solutions to positively influence the STEM education and training curriculum, at all levels; primary, secondary, and tertiary (both vocational education & training (VET) and Higher Education) to ensure graduates meet the needs and expectations of AIIA member employers.
  3. With members, AIIA will identify workforce skill needs across the industry and work with members, government, education and training institutions and other relevant stakeholders to address these.  This includes consideration of work placement and internship models.
  4. AIIA will identify priorities and actions to address AIIA member’s forecast skills shortages in the intermediate and longer term future.
  5. AIIA will nominate a STEM champion on behalf of the industry in each State and Territory and work with them to advocate STEM and the broader skills agenda.
  6. Through the Digital Careers Program, AIIA will engage with industry to initiate and actively support STEM related activities aligned to supporting the proposed STEM Framework incorporating the core components of Curriculum, Teachers, a compelling Narrative and Metrics.

Supporting AIIA documents

The following documents support AIIA’s policy position on Privacy and Security

AIIA’s response to Vision for A Science Nation

Digital Skills and Careers. Building the skills today for the jobs of tomorrow

Reference documents

The following reference documents have helped inform AIIA’s policy position relating to Skills.

PwC – World in 2050

The Australian – Kids Who Code