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Why Australia’s National Skills Passport is the key to enabling a true skills-led workforce

By Cia Kouparitsas 
Published: September 28, 2023
READ TIME: 3 minutes
The Australian Government’s announcement this week that it’s started work on establishing a National Skills Passport represents a paradigm shift in our employment landscape.

While on the surface it may present as a standard government initiative, it is anything but ordinary. This program has the potential to deliver one of the most meaningful changes to the Australian workforce that we’ve seen in a generation. It’s an initiative I’m deeply passionate about – and I’ll tell you why.

Until now, our employment landscape has favoured the fortunate. Having a CV and a university degree has been the measure of success in recruitment and it’s locked those out of the workforce who may not have pursued a traditional education path.

But, as we look down the barrel of a digital skills crisis where the demand for tech capabilities continues to sky-rocket, we need a better way of tracking and verifying skills. Access to skills education creates new pathways to employment for everyone – and it’s how we will go about levelling up Australia’s workforce.

Having a way to digitally verify, track and manage an individual’s skills is not a nice to have. It is a critical capability in the skills-led employment agenda that is fundamentally required to ensure Australia has the skills it needs to thrive; while evening up the playing field for all Australians to find meaningful work.

WithYouWithMe has been working closely with a growing number of organisations – not only here in Australia, but all around the world – to bring about this shift towards skills-led employment. We are making steady progress, but the introduction of a National Skills Passport is exactly what’s needed to bring the scale of change required. It’s a forward-looking approach that aligns with the urgent need for a more adaptable and agile workforce, where individuals have the opportunity for secure, meaningful work, regardless of their background or previous experience.

What is the National Skills Passport?

The idea of a National Skills Passport is essentially a practical, scalable way for our nation to recognise and utilise qualifications within the modern workforce. It has the potential to seamlessly integrate an individual's qualifications and credentials, spanning both practical training and higher education. As a single point of truth for skills, it empowers workers to effectively showcase their abilities and competency to employers, transcending traditional barriers that may have hindered career progression. By unifying diverse educational backgrounds and experiences, the National Skills Passport fosters inclusivity and equal access to opportunities for individuals from all walks of life.

And for employers, it solves the key challenge of accurately tracking and verifying credentials and qualifications; and ensuring the right skills are in place for the right roles. By incorporating digital badges and leveraging verified skills, employers gain invaluable talent marketplace insights for enhanced human capability management. This approach guarantees a comprehensive understanding of employees' capabilities, irrespective of their source, allowing for targeted upskilling and reskilling to proactively prepare for the future.

Where to next for the National Skills Passport?

As technology continues to shape the job market, we know it’s essential that individuals' skills and qualifications are documented in a reliable and accessible manner. This initiative not only ensures that individuals are equipped to thrive in a rapidly evolving workforce but also simplifies the hiring process for employers. By providing a standardised platform to verify skills, the National Skills Passport is a practical way to build the workforce that we need. One that is skilled, diverse and ready to tackle the ever-growing demand for specialised skills in today's competitive job market.

The potential of this program is significant, the stakes are high – and the hard work has just begun. While a National Skills Passport stands as a beacon of potential for matching skills with opportunities, getting it right is imperative. Its success hinges on meticulous planning, close collaboration with industry leaders, and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that it’s a solution that truly empowers individuals and the greater workforce.

From where I’m standing the path forward is clear and we’ll be leaning in to support where we can. The successful delivery of a National Skills Passport will be a win for both business and individuals, provided we navigate this high-stakes terrain with precision and foresight.

If you'd like to learn more about skills-led employment, I'd love to speak with you so please get in touch.

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