For jobseekers and employers alike, thinking about the future can provoke a sense of uncertainty. If people do an apprenticeship in Queensland, will their skills still be valuable in the future? Questions such as this took on new meaning recently, with the suggestion that advancements in artificial intelligence and automation could alter the way many roles are performed.
We’ll reassure you now before delving into the details. The overwhelming consensus is that while the new technology will change many jobs, it’s unlikely to result in an entire workforce being replaced by robots. So, if you’re lining up an an apprenticeship or traineeship in the coming years, what, if anything, could change?
Why it’s important to learn to adapt
The positive side to ongoing discussion about automation and other technological change is that it reinforces the value of adaptability – an important trait to have as an apprentice or trainee. As these courses involve practical learning on the job, having the ability to adapt to new trends and information is essential.
When investigating employee reaction to the automation’s potential to impact the workforce, Hays Australia found that the majority of people (52 per cent) believe their specific job will alter in some way in the coming decade. However, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand Nick Deligiannis says the degree of impact will depend more the individual in question than the actual technology.
“There’s also the possibility that robots and AI could be used as another tool to help us do our job better, rather than replace us,” he began.”In this context, automation could be viewed as an enabler, helping us to be more efficient.”
It’s also important for jobseekers to realise that while both apprenticeships and traineeships often have a strong focus on technical capabilities, the soft skills they develop are equally important. Soft skills are abilities like communication and leadership that are unique to humans, not easily replicated by machines and transferrable across a number of jobs and career opportunities. Put simply, soft skills are what make people valuable in a world where technology is advancing rapidly.
Advanced technology expected to create new job opportunities
Now may be the perfect time for people to begin a traineeship in the field of information technology. According to the national broadband network (nbn), although usually linked to a phasing out of traditional work opportunities, technology is actually likely to result in approximately three million new job opportunities by 2030.
Importantly, the nbn also noted there are a range of occupations that will either be enhanced or unaffected by a more tech-focussed workforce. This mostly applies to people in practical roles, dubbed “doers” by the nbn, such as plumbers and carpenters that rely on manual labour and specialist knowledge. For these professions, technology will play a supporting role, helping them to better communicate with clients, rather than simply changing the way they work.
Technology could be the key to increasing regional apprenticeship opportunities.
There are positive changes expected in other industries as well. For creative people such as jewellery apprentices, better access to the internet can provide a greater source of inspiration and help to get creative juices flowing. Alternatively, it will also be easier for these people to create communities online to share ideas and improve their craft.
A growing focus on technology could also move jobs, spreading apprenticeship opportunities across the state and ensuring larger cities aren’t the only ones offering vacancies. With the Queensland government currently attempting to drive work opportunities in regional areas, greater technology update could be a blessing rather than a curse.
While the future is uncertain in many cases, the continual evolution of technology is not something that apprentices need to worry about. In fact, it could be the key to a more fulfilling career.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator