Computerisation of jobs promises to open up new doors

FUTURE workforce trends have left a lot of people concerned for their jobs, but Kerrie Bowtell from North Coast TAFE said that shouldn't be the case.

Ms Bowtell said the sought-after skills taking us into the future could be applied to low, middle and high skill jobs.

"The exciting part is businesses are now looking for a whole new set of skills that are unaffected by computerisation," said Ms Bowtell, who is the education centre's leader of community and business engagement for the Richmond Valley.

"Skills only learnt in the classroom or online or in the workplace aren't enough to develop the necessary skills for the 21st century."

A recent State Government report stated there was a 50% probability in Lismore, 55% in the Clarence, 40% in Ballina and 55% in Tweed of existing jobs being computerised by 2030.

The report* on workforce trends also stated up to 70% of young people were entering occupations vulnerable to computerisation.

Ms Bowtell said the key was to change learning styles, which was already happening in schools.

"I think the exciting approach is in T-shape learning," she said. "The horizontal part of the 'T' is the depth of capability ... encouraging curiosity in learning, collaborative work, interpersonal communication ... and creativity.

"They are skills needed regardless of what area you're working in and that can be from low-level work to the highest level.

"The vertical side is the technical skills ... resilience, emotional intelligence, agility, leadership and relationship as key drivers."

She said these were the skills TAFE had started embedding into its courses.

The report suggested workers who didn't adapt to technological changes well would lose out in the computerised world.

However, Ms Bowtell said that struggle shouldn't hold people back as it was one they could overcome.

"When people are used to working in a particular way ... change is always challenging," she said. "However the new capabilities being asked for ... demand collaboration, and that itself supports people through that change."

* The Future Workforce Trends in NSW: Emerging technologies and their potential impact