NSW, June 22, 2017: The ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector –welcomed the NSW Government’s renewed focus on education and commitment to improving to the State’s digital health infrastructure through ICT as outlined in its 2017-18 Budget, but noted the government did not highlight the importance of ICT skills to achieve the outcomes.
ACS President, Anthony Wong, said that the $4.2 billion investment over four years into the education sector was a great focus for NSW but highlighted the critical importance of building technology skills - from primary through to tertiary - into this investment.
“At a time when the performance of Australian students in science and maths is declining, the ACS would like to see a stronger focus on building digital skills and digital literacy in the State’s classrooms. We see this as an important economic and policy priority, particularly when STEM is associated with 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations, innovations and wage premiums.
“The ACS ICT Educators Program supports the State’s $4.2 billion investment into education however, more needs to be done to support the adoption of the Digital Technologies Curriculum in NSW schools.
“In order to create an ecosystem of ICT workers in Australia, we need to invest in the students of the day to support the workers of tomorrow,” Mr Wong said.
The ICT Educators Program is based on the successful model used in the UK where enterprise partners, departments of education and universities work together to strengthen teacher support and drive better learning outcomes. The Program will support teachers by providing them resources and thought leadership and will develop a community of practice for teachers.
Mr Wong said e-Health is a huge growth sector globally as shown by the State Government’s $536 million investment in NSW digital health infrastructure, announced by Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello.
“It captures the growing applications of technology in sectors throughout the economy that may not have traditionally been viewed as heavy users of digital technology,” Mr Wong said.
The ACS recently launched its 2017 Australia’s Digital Pulse Report, that outlined the ICT jobs market across Australia, and trends over the next six years. Specific to NSW, the report found that the State will require more than 30,600 ICT workers by 2022 if it is to meet the State’s future digital needs, making it one of the States in Australia where a potential skill shortage is most severe.
“As a longstanding advocate in this space, the ACS has actively raised concerns about the critical need to address Australia’s ICT skills shortages to meet future skills demand. This is alongside the need to boost ICT enrolments and completions where currently graduates represent a small fraction of the ICT workforce. Addressing the skills shortages in this area will go a long way to achieving the digital economy NSW desires.
“There is enormous opportunity for Australia to pivot its focus to transforming traditional areas of the economy into high growth technology based business. The ACS looks forward to working with the NSW Government to place a high priority on achieving these outcomes,” Mr Wong said.
 Results from the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
 PwC’s “A smart Move: Future proofing Australia’s workforce by growing skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)”
 ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse, pg. 72
 ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse, pg. 2
Louise Proctor, Launch Group, 0452 574 244 [email protected]
About the ACS
The ACS is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.