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A framework to cultivate talent for future digital skills

Kate Tetley, International Manager, People 1st International

The importance of digital skills has grown exponentially and as we emerge from the pandemic it’s clear that these skills will be critical to help young people succeed in the labour market.

When articulating what digital skills are required by the future workforce, two key words are important: standardisation and quality. Our international experience highlights there are four key factors to successfully develop an infrastructure that will nurture digital skills:

  1. Embed digital skills as a core skill: Digital skills must be given equal importance alongside numeracy and literacy in general education
  2. Design or adopt an appropriate digital frameworks: The digital skills delivered must align to the current technical vocational education and training (TVET) provision
  3. Reflect digital skills in all job profiles: Digital skills should be reflected in all job descriptions from entry level through to management 
  4. Provide opportunity to existing workforces: Existing employees should be given the upskill and reskill to support business and individual growth

To cultivate talent one of the most important elements to have in place is a human resource management process. This process coordinates and delivers key activities within an organisational framework – these can be basic particularly if it is a small or family owned business – but being able to describe the job role and the progression opportunities is critical.

Having a method to recognise achievements and to measure progress will aid business growth and demonstrate impact. This in turn, enables cost-benefit analysis to be applied to any training or development provided.

To implement a system of talent management there are four practical areas to address:

  1. Job profiles: Articulate the skills needed now including ‘technical’ and ‘core’ and identify the occupational standards
  2. Progression pathways: Develop and showcase the vertical, horizontal and sideways progression moves
  3. Recognition of learning, competencies and experience: Professionalise job roles through professional bodies, prior learning and experience
  4. Measurement: Put in place an appraisal system linked to development with promotion, training plans and support for innovative ideas

Another important element to have in place to cultivate talent is the implementation of a skills development approach to grow relevant digital skills. For this, at a policy level we need frameworks and quality standards to offer consistency and quality assurance, as well as measurable KPIs. At an industry level we need industry demand driven approaches with labour market information and growth projections. And at a local, business or institutional level we need demand driven solutions that offer flexibility, relevance and are fit for purpose.

Whilst not new, these practical approaches and processes will put in place a conducive ecosystem for talent growth and help cultivate digital skills.

 

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