Manufacturing News

UNSW launches learning program to help combat labour shortages


Ahead of the upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, UNSW Sydney has launched its new workplace learning offer to help industry and government organisations meet current and future skills shortages.

Mentem by UNSW will assess an organisation’s needs and provide education programs to their employees through contextualised learning. Its training and coaching will incorporate formal education from UNSW’s expertise to reskill businesses for long-term benefits.

The Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit is expected to focus on Australian labour shortages and suggest actions and opportunities for medium- and long-term reform. Currently, Australia’s unemployment rate stands at a very low 3.5 per cent, with many industries struggling to find workers.

UNSW vice-chancellor and president, professor Atilla Brungs, said that Mentem was established at a critical juncture.

“UNSW’s world-leading research capability gives us deep expertise in the current and future impact of shifts in various industries. By combining this level of academic rigour to a business environment at scale, we can ensure Australia has a workforce capable of meeting the needs of the sectors critical to our nation’s productivity and prosperity,” he explained.

Professor Chris Styles, UNSW Business School Dean, said that UNSW’s 73-year history of world-leading education makes Mentem uniquely placed to deliver skills across a large spectrum of disciplines.

“Being able to tap into and repackage UNSW’s vast amounts of higher education content into upskill and reskill products that organisations can deploy in a way that is contextualised and relevant, allows us to offer a multidisciplinary approach,” he said. He added that the learning programs will also develop employees, irrespective of their role, to operate effectively in increasingly digital workplaces as well as provide courses in other critical enterprise skills.

Mentem chief executive officer Arvind Sampath said, “No two businesses are the same. That’s why Mentem designs contextualised learning experiences that align skills programs to strategic objectives.

“We go about training a little differently, too. Our approach is to embed an organisations’ subject matter experts, to really empower peer-to-peer learning. This enables businesses to become a self-sustaining learning environment, where employees continually grow together.” He added that credentialing can be provided, and the training was a potential pathway to further university study.

Since its establishment in 2021, Mentem has developed and delivered programs in digital literacy, data analytics, and business process modelling across different sectors. A recent example includes reskilling employees from across Suncorp Group in business process modelling.

Matt Leslie, executive general manager of people and culture strategy at Suncorp said that reskilling their employees in the important area of end-to-end business process modelling will enable them to better review Suncorp’s service offerings and ultimately improve customer experience.

Sampath said they also recently developed and implemented a Digital Skills Uplift pilot program for employees at the Department of Regional NSW. “The program is a mix of formal and on-the-job learning, including coaching support, and is designed to fit into the daily work of employees. The scalable program was also co-designed with employees,” he said.

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