This week Jobs Australia hosted its annual, national conference in Sydney. The conference focused on the future of employment services in Australia and in particular its ‘2015 Project', an initiative that calls for a ‘Grand Re-design’ of the national employment system.
In his opening address, Jobs Australia CEO, David Thompson spoke of a system that could ‘help them help themselves, instead of just doing stuff to people.’ The conference addressed the need for a system that must support service providers to increase the employability of the unemployed and empower people to help themselves.
David Thompson, comparing the employment system to ageing houses, remarked that if we were looking for solutions today, with a clean slate, we would not add on to the past, we wouldn’t simply plaster up the cracks, we would call in the best ‘architects’, we would call in the best planners, we would look for the best solutions. Yet historically we keep trying to find add on solutions to problems that actually require a restumping, if not a demolition and a re-build.
In 2012, with most job ads now being listed online and job applications being requested in a digital format, there is no denying that being digitally included and proficient in computer technology, is an essential part to rebuilding an employment system that leaves no one behind. Despite this, whilst technology is changing how people access employment and work practices at a rapid rate, many of the people who would benefit most from these changes are being left behind.
People who face employment participation challenges are often identified as having limited access to technology and low levels of digital literacy, entrenching them in disadvantage. The 2015 Project aims to reform the current system, encouraging employment service organisations to better connect people to employment and will be framed by conference outcomes. Infoxchange presented on the digital democracy and how digital inclusion and digital proficiency are instrumental in the ‘Grand Redesign’ of the employment sector.
‘In responding to complex social problems, it is important that we consider the role of technology because it has become so intertwined in the very fabric of modern Australia. When it comes to employment services it is essential that we level the playing field, and in today’s digital economy, it means ensuring that we consider digital equality so that everyone has the opportunity to fully participate, ensuring that everyone gets a fair go’, said Peter Walton, CEO of Infoxchange Australia.
The range of digital inclusion initiatives run by Infoxchange such as the Wired projects, Language Factory, Yarra Reporter and other digital training programs, seek to improve the employability of disadvantaged communities, helping to ensure that they are not disadvantaged in their efforts to secure employment.
We know that households that have internet and ICT skills have a significant advantage in terms of securing employment (by up to 25%) and we also know that those that then get jobs, if they have internet and PC skills, can often earn up to 10% more. It is critical, therefore, that we ensure that we address not just the issue of getting everyone online, but that we equip those online with the skills to gain the most from the digital age.
As well as the role the sector plays in connecting and supporting people in their search for employment, organisations themselves must become more proficient in their use of technology to deliver more effective services as well as to enhance their own workforce.
Sound recruitment and retention practices are invaluable to an organisation in terms of time, money and productivity. Infoxchange recently launched a refreshed JobSeeker website, specifically tailored to the community sector. It provides the tools that enable efficient recruitment processes. ‘Helping organisations to find the right staff, in turn supports good community engagement to empower people to help themselves.’
To find out more about Jobs Australia visit ja.com.au
To find out more about JobSeeker visit www.jobseeker.org.au
To find out more about Digital Inclusion Initiatives visit www.digitalinclusion.net.au