Creating awareness of career options and visibility of sector are key components in supporting the workforce of the future.

As part of their digital careers expo, Year13 hosted a webinar on Tuesday 17 May that focused on how sectors can attract, and retain younger workers, promote, and address skills shortages across a variety of sectors including human services, resources, and digital skills.

Co-CEO Mr Will Stubley moderated the session, which included an expert panel of chief executives from Australia’s Skills Organisation pilots—Human Services Skills Organisation CEO Ms Jodi Schmidt, Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA) CEO Mr Gavin Lind and Digital Skills Organisation CEO Mr Patrick Kidd OBE OAM.

The webinar looked at how educative content and contextual learning can increase early career seekers’ intent in pursuing careers in sector. In particular, the panel discussed using a data driven approach to solve the domestic talent pipeline.

The panellists discussed questions including:

  • What are some of the challenges faced by your industry in attracting new young workers?
  • What proactive measures are you taking to generate interest and consideration in your industry
  • How can we prepare young people for the in-demand work of the future?
  • How can schools participate in the changing world of work?
  • How can industry help young people make career decisions?

The discussion was followed by a Q&A session when guests, from schools, government policy makers, tertiary educators and employers were offered the opportunity to ask questions directly of panel members.

Scroll down to read the perspective of each CEO.

For the human services sector

HSSO Chief Executive Officer Ms Jodi Schmidt said there was huge opportunity for young people to explore a career in human services.

“Human services is the largest employer of people in Australia, and it has been the largest contributor to labour growth since the 1990s – we have an aging population, we are living longer as a result of investment in health sciences, and in comparison to many other countries we are supportive of community services.

“The sector is growing at an incredible rate, we have a deficit of up to 400,000 skilled people and unless we look at national, state, local and regional interventions this will continue to grow and add pressure on the sector.

“We need to start thinking about how we connect with younger generations more effectively to increase awareness and ensure that the perception they have of the sector is the right one.

Ms Schmidt said the Year13 research found many young people feared the responsibility of caring for others – particularly seniors.

“In examining the barriers to young people entering human services sectors, nearly 50 percent said they were not confident in their ability to take care of other people.

“I think this is entirely understandable. It is a confronting idea to be asked to take responsibility for the seniors who you were told to look up to and respect.

“These roles ask for a completely different level of emotional engagement. These potential employees are young, and these jobs ask them to step up and into someone else’s world – to take responsibility and have accountability for someone. However, for those who have made that leap, the personal satisfaction and reward for doing so is significant.

Ms Schmidt said young people have resoundingly stated they want purpose, security, and flexibility in choosing a career path – and human services can offer this.

“We want young people to understand that there is early pathways into the sector, where engagement in part time work is available and wanted by employers, which can enable earning while you learn pathways into higher education.

When asked about the practical things we can do to support young people to consider a career in human services, Ms Schmidt said:

“We need to raise awareness about the breadth of opportunities for young people.

“We should assist young people to explore more and help them consider roles that they have an interest in, careers where they show early potential and ones that might align to their values.

Visit the Human Services Skills Organisation website for more information or access the Positive Humanity academy.

For the resources sector

AUSMESA CEO Dr Gavin Lind believes that some incorrect perceptions are deterring young people from considering a career in the resources sector.

“The work that we’ve done with Year 13 has shown us that the availability of trusted information is key.

“We know that our younger generations are very values-based in their decisions, and they want to work somewhere that aligns with their beliefs. There is so much opportunity in the resources sector, and we need to do some work creating awareness and changing perceptions.

“We are experiencing a radical transformation in the sector – a strong de-carbonisation agenda, increasing renewable energy, and the introduction of new technologies.

“Young people want careers that positively impact local communities and the environment, what they don’t always realise is that green technologies are driven by minerals – something that mining provides.

“When we talk about sustainable technologies, it’s important we understand that every aspect of renewables (such as wind farms and solar panels) is derived from minerals. Our mining sector is key in supporting this technology. This means that participating in mining or an associated area means you will have a direct input the sustainability of the country and leave an important legacy — that’s exciting” Dr Lind said.

When asked about the benefits of working in the resources sector, Dr Lind said young people were often surprised to learn how flexible, inclusive, and well-paid it could be.

“Two-thirds of resources jobs are in regional Australia, and we need to think about how we can connect with and support local communities and reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to demonstrate the roles available.

“I think some of the attractive things about working in the resources sector is the flexibility, that mining is the highest average wages of all Australian sectors; and that diversity and gender balance is increasing. The [Year13] resourcefulness academy gives information about our sector.

When asked about the practical things we can do to support young people consider a career in resources, Dr Lind said:

“The biggest takeaway I think, is to keep your options open – the job or course you start at might not be where you end up in five years’ time. There are many flexible pathways to take, and there is a long-term future in the wider mining, resources, and energy sectors. Familiarise yourself with the sector, you can follow updates on the news and follow what companies are doing online, do some research on the industry and learn more about it so you can make decisions based on knowledge of what it means to work in mining, resources, and energy.”

Visit the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA) website for more information or access the Resourcefulness academy.

For sectors impacted by digital skills changes

Digital Skills Organisation CEO Mr Patrick Kidd OBE OAM said that virtually every sector has or was being disrupted by digital skills requirements.

“There’s huge demand for these skills—more than 60,000 people with technology skills are required each year.

“Digital skills are required across every sector and organisation – the need for workers with digital skills is integral across every role imaginable. Digital skills are a fundamental enabler to achieve your career goals.

“Technology and innovation has changed everything—these skills are fast becoming the core skills that are necessary to power success across a range of different areas.

“It can be complicated for people to understand what we mean when we talk about digital skills. The nature of work is changing and the need to interact in a digital environment applies to us all. We should think of digital skills as transferable skills –skills which can be used across a range of roles in different industries.

“Lots of people have the perception that digital jobs are not for them.  But in reality, we are all already living in a digital world were we use technology every day.  We all have the potential to be successful across a variety of roles in the digital space – it’s all about aptitude and attitude.

Mr Kidd talked about the different requirements for people with digital skills across small, medium, and large businesses.

“The challenge is how to simplify the language which describe digital career opportunities to make tech more attractive to more people from diverse backgrounds.

“Employers often want new starters to have formal qualifications and 2 years experience. We need to shift this thinking and encourage businesses to invest in individuals who have the skills they need, not a just a paper qualification.

“If I were a school careers advisor, I would encourage young people to explore the online opportunities to learn new skills.”

It’s important to encourage future generations by talking about careers being multifaceted and that often careers aren’t linear.

“We absolutely need to support young people to help them understand what they might do next.  People need to understand the benefits of digital skills. It is the application of these skills in life, in a job, which has real value.

“All of us now live in a digital world – it’s a world which offers amazing opportunities.  Exciting.

Visit the Digital Skills Organisation website for more information or access the DigiSkills academy.


The Year 13 expo runs from 16 to 22 May 2022 and offers a range of on-demand inspiring career content. To explore the expo visit the Year13 website.

Watch the webinar recording