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Sourcing digital talent to build your future workforce

Skills Lab,

Changing the way a business gets things done is not a one-person job. The range of skills needed to identify the best use of digital tools for organisational change should not be all lumped on individuals in a singular package.

In reality, this skill set is spread out among teams with diverse educational backgrounds and work experience. Sourcing these team members, who can collectively contribute to an organisation’s digital transformation, requires casting a net that will secure new hires and retain experienced employees.

The complementary backgrounds of these two groups can bring a mix of new thinking and operational experience to decision-making that ultimately leads to the future sustainability of their organisation.

Business leaders are re-thinking the structure of this digital talent net, or talent pipeline, as many report continued challenges accessing the skills and experience they need on their teams.

Those organisations that are winning the war for talent are making the following moves in pursuit of a digitally fit workforce:


Business leaders are embracing new career pathways to source and retain digital talent.

Embracing digital apprenticeships for professional roles

The global shift towards apprenticeship training for traditionally degree qualified roles is well underway, with vocational training pathways already a well-regarded fixture of the business community in many countries.

The movement has been gaining momentum in Australia too, with a number of high-profile Australian businesses recognising the value of on-the-job training in a rapidly changing market.

The old mindset equating apprenticeships exclusively with trades is falling away as the rapid uptake of new technology in many professions requires a more agile learning model than institutionalised study can provide.

Industries at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, such as IT and engineering are seeing the need to reframe what an ‘apprenticeship’ opportunity looks like.

The need to update skills will continue to arise as new technology enters the workforce. Learners who access this technology as it arrives in industry will be best placed to adapt as they gain experiential knowledge of new systems in authentic scenarios.

Newly established programs such as Skills Lab’s Digital Engineering Apprenticeship has been developed in collaboration with industry and organisations to provide this immersive learning experience.

The apprenticeship model also facilitates the sharing of specialist knowledge from more experienced staff and an immersion in the organisational culture unique to each business.

Graduates of apprenticeship programs emerge with practical knowledge tailored to their host organisation and the loyalty developed throughout their training creates the makings of a valuable long-term employee.


Encouraging lateral career moves as part of the retention strategy

 Career paths are not always linear. It is common for new interests and passions to develop mid-career and spark a desire for change.

Digital skills can provide a bridge that facilitates the transition into a new industry for workers who decide to forge a new path.

The skillset required to move engineering and IT firms forward toward their preferred digital future could lie with talent working in a completely different industry.

The chance to upskill and reposition a career through training such as the Diploma of Applied Technologies provides an exciting opportunity for workers to realign with their interests and talents and forge a new pathway into a role that best suits their changing strengths profile.


Retaining in-house talent through upskilling opportunities

High performing workers are constantly seeking out the next challenge. They want to take on projects that harness new technology and set them up for long-term career success. But this means more than just getting their hands on shiny new i4.0 toys.

 Attracting and retaining workers with in-demand skills requires an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that displays a commitment to career development and the promise of interesting work that adapts as technology advances. 

The Mercer 2020 Global Talent Trends Survey reported that 81 per cent of thriving employees feel they have the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, highlighting the value workers place on new learning.

The workplaces that model a commitment to life-long learning inevitably end up with the most effective and loyal teams.

Skills-lab-sourcing-digital-talent-apprenticeships-jpgNew learning provides an attractive opportunity to the current workforce and enhanced job security.

The importance of digital talent streams

Creating a digital talent pipeline requires a multi-pronged approach. Development efforts need to be focused on workers at different stages of the career cycle.

As changes to industry blaze ahead, leaders are challenged to the task of attracting ambitious school leavers to apprenticeships while also upskilling the current workforce within their own industry and further afield.

The pace of change no longer allows for learning as a one-off transaction, but demands reskilling at speed and scale throughout the career.

Ongoing training is a powerful hook for new hires and an anchor for the experienced in a sector that will need to commit to constant learning to keep a competitive edge and innovate their way forward in these challenging times.

Digital Apprenticeship and upskilling course information is available via the Skills Lab website.