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Strengthening the digital workforce through the Victorian Government’s $64m digital upskill plan

In our recent study with Deloitte, we found that around 87% of jobs in Australia require a level of digital skills

With remote working becoming more prevalent and technology continuing to disrupt, it’s crucial for businesses to keep up in today’s fast-changing digital market. 

A recent 2021 study conducted by RMIT Online together with Deloitte found that around 87% of jobs in Australia require a level of digital skills in order to keep pace with the evolving business environment. This means there is a growing digital knowledge gap and employees will need to learn additional digital skills to stay relevant both in their organisations and for their own careers.  

Even business professionals whose jobs don’t require complex digital skills still spend significant amounts of time relying on technology. From communicating with team members to sharing data, updating digital platforms to project management, technology is embedded in every element of today’s working environment.

"It has become evident more than ever how important it is to ensure that your teams are well equipped with the right tools and digital skills to increase their productivity and efficiency levels"

Now’s the time to bridge the digital knowledge gap in business

During these unpredictable times of the global pandemic, it has become evident more than ever how important it is to ensure that your teams are well equipped with the right tools and digital skills to increase their productivity and efficiency levels - whether they are at the office or working remotely from their homes.  

The digital world is not going away and for businesses to survive and excel, it’s essential to address this digital knowledge gap across all of your teams. 

The Victorian Government’s digital upskilling initiative. 

One in every five Australians said they are worried about the possibility of being made redundant in their current roles for currently lacking the relevant skills. Deloitte has also predicted that Victoria alone will need an extra 33,000 digital technology workers by 2024 – which is not that far away! 

These numbers place a lot of pressure on both employees and business owners to find smarter ways to close this skills gap and promote greater digital literacy. 

Fortunately, the state government of Victoria has recently launched a $64m Digital Skills and Jobs program which aims to provide a cost-effective approach to train and develop the state’s digital talent through educational upskilling.  

Over the next three years, this initiative aims to support up to 5,000 mid-career Victorians in gaining up-to-date digital skills that will support Victorian businesses and help them thrive in today’s modern digital environment.  

The six-month program includes offers such as: 

  • 12 weeks of fully funded, industry-backed training  
  • 12 week paid internships in digital roles with businesses in Victoria 
  • Ongoing support from a mentor throughout the program 

With more Victorians being displaced as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this initiative aims to help mid-career business professionals be more suitable for digital-based jobs through their newly acquired digital skills. 

RMIT Online will be supporting this government initiative 

This industry-recognised training will be delivered by RMIT Online through a range of digital business courses that are aimed to enhance every participant’s digital knowledge and experience while supporting them to add new capabilities that will qualify them for industries and roles that they are planning to pursue.  

Opening the floodgate of opportunities for digital skills demand. 

With the data skills gap costing an estimated $12.36b to Australian businesses per year due to lost productivity, the Victorian Government’s Digital Jobs Program aims to address this workforce problem. 

The digital learning initiative has already seen a very strong public response with more than 3,650 applicants in Round One, out of which 440 are now undertaking training within digital fields that are in high demand.  

Here are the most popular RMIT Online digital courses on offer: 

  • Data Analytics – This is the most popular course with 20% of applicants expressing their interest to learn more of this skill. We also found that demand for this course has grown 30% in the past year. 
  • Digital Marketing Operations – Our second most popular course, which is one of the most in-demand job roles today, was chosen by 14% of applicants. 
  • Cyber Security – With the advancement of technology, more businesses are prioritising online security. 12% of applicants have shown interest in expanding their skills in this field.  

Other digital courses offered by RMIT Online include:  

  • Programming and software development 
  • Cloud computing 
  • AI and machine learning 
  • User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) 
  • Product management 
  • Web development 

With these online educational courses, the Victorian government aims to produce qualified and highly capable talent who can address today’s growing shortage of digital-savvy workers.  

Hear From one of RMIT Online’s Students 

Sean McClean is one of the first wave of Victorians taking part in the Digital Job program and is currently taking the RMIT Online Business Analytics course. Here’s what Sean had to say about his experience. 


What is your current job or area of work? 

“My most recent area of work was in the travel industry where I had formed a successful career in a variety of roles, including sales, leadership and operations.” 


Why did you choose this course? Did you feel the need to improve your current position, or were you looking for new opportunities? 

“Unfortunately, I was made redundant due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I have always had an interest in using data to analyse situations and believe using visuals such as charts or dashboards are vital in assisting businesses make better decisions. My previous role involved some limited analysis opportunities which gave me an opportunity to experience this area. My primary reason for choosing this course is to quickly develop new skills which, combined with my current skills set, will set me up for an analysis based role.” 


What do you expect to achieve? 

“Having not studied in many years, I expected a challenging start. I found the workload was lighter in the earlier weeks before ramping up towards the end of the course. I've enjoyed the interaction with the mentors and the course content. I have found the need to independently research some areas further. I am expecting the skills learned to help me build on my current skillset and forge a new career in an analyst role.” 


Have you had previous experiences with training and upskilling? Can you elaborate?  

“I haven't studied in many years and this was previously in person so online was a new experience.” 


How will this program work and who is eligible? 

Eligible organisations and businesses can apply to host one or more interns for a minimum of 12 weeks. These businesses will be matched with candidates who have the training, skills and background that will fit the role(s) you’re looking to fill.  

Candidates are selected based on the following competencies: 

  • Growth Mindset 
  • Resilience 
  • Critical Thinking 
  • Problem Solving 
  • Ability to work with people 

The preferred candidates will be employed for a minimum of 12 weeks with at least a minimum wage, while receiving a $5,000 subsidy from the program. 

Anyone is welcome to apply. In the first group of applicants, half were women, 1 in 5 were from regional Victoria, and 4 in 5 already have a Bachelor, Masters or PhD qualifications. All candidates also had at least 5-10 years of working experience and earned project management experience. 

The program is specifically aimed at mid-career individuals as these candidates have transferrable skills and soft skills that are also valuable to employers, in addition to digital knowledge. This can also position them for a faster career trajectory compared to other entry-level candidates. 


Future-proofing the Australian workforce through government initiatives. 

Since its launch in April 2020, this program has created more than 12,000 jobs, including supporting workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. 

The state government has recognised the importance of upskilling to help Australian businesses thrive during these unprecedented times by launching an effective program that will address the current digital skills gap. 

With RMIT Online partnering with the state government, this will ensure each student is well-equipped with the right skills and knowledge to help close the digital skills gap and build a more equitable and future-proof Australia. 

Want to learn more about digital upskilling for you and your team? 

Victorian businesses are invited to join the program to host these freshly trained candidates through subsidised 12-week internships. If you’re looking for great people with the right digital skills for your business, you can register your interest here to receive further information.

This article was originally published on 15 September 2021