Priority 3: Strengthening the regional digital workforce
The Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan will enhance and strengthen regional Queensland’s digital professional workforce by ensuring there are adequate educational and professional development opportunities locally and that remote working is promoted and encouraged.
Queensland is one of Australia’s most geographically vast states. Regional labour markets are unique and as such require tailored workforce planning to meet local contexts. It is crucial that local workforces have access to the skills of the future and professional development opportunities to ensure Queensland’s regions can equally benefit from the digital economy. Recent consultation and engagement across Queensland’s regions to develop this plan revealed that two-thirds of respondents (68.3%) felt that in their region there was a general lack of graduates, a lack of quality training, and a lack of affordable training options. Additionally, regional Queensland businesses felt they were not able to attract digital professionals as they were unable to offer competitive salaries (compared to metropolitan areas) and for some, they also lacked the necessary infrastructure and connectivity.
Regional Queensland currently employs approximately 23,600 people in the technology sector, which makes up approximately 22% of Queensland’s digital professional workforce. The pandemic has fast-tracked better systems and processes and demonstrated an increasing mobility of business operations and the capacity to successfully work from regional locations. In many areas across Australia, there is now a 'tree change' real estate boom occurring as professionals successfully negotiate working from home arrangements. This shift presents regional Queensland with a real opportunity to benefit from the growing digital economy.
Queensland will benefit from an increased regional professional digital workforce. Attraction and retention of this digital talent in the regions will be strengthened through development and training opportunities that meet local and global needs. The attraction and/or retention of digital professionals will ensure that regional communities remain vibrant and have access to knowledge to ensure they remain competitive economically. This shift will create local jobs and improve regional communities’ access to the benefits of the digital economy and ensure they are able to service and support market activities across the world.
- Increase access and participation in digital skills education in regional locations to meet the unique labour market requirements and build regional digital professional capability.
- Promote remote working learnings from COVID-19 to Queensland’s businesses to encourage them to access regional Queensland’s digital professional talent pool. COVID-19 has shown that digital professionals can work anywhere and still deliver, which will enable businesses to access a broader pool of talent.
- Increase access to professional development and networking opportunities across regional Queensland to continue to build skills and opportunities.
- Participation through digital professional development opportunities previously not available.
- Regional digital education enrolments, previously not available.
- Number of businesses using remote regional workers.
Success looks like
- Increased supply of digital professionals in regional Queensland.
- Increased digital professional education in regional Queensland.
- Increased professional development and networking opportunities in regional Queensland.
- Increased supply of digital professionals in Queensland.
Case study: DataFarming
Locally developed cloud platform, DataFarming, is taking precision agriculture to the world with its approach to making farm data technology low cost, simple and easy to access for agronomists and farmers. Precision farming refers to the use of technology to optimise soil quality and productivity. The technology collects data which informs decision making on how to boost production and put corrective actions in place.
Managing Director Tim Neale, his wife Peta and their team in Toowoomba have been developing precision farming products and services since 2002. They launched DataFarming in 2017 – a cloud-based platform which includes a satellite imagery crop monitoring tool, using real-time satellite imagery from the European Space Agency.
The business currently has seven people in its technology team including developers, data scientists, tech support and product owners.
“I have found it hard to get the right people with the right skill sets to support growth of my business,” Tim says. “It would be great to have more access to local digital professionals in Toowoomba and Brisbane.”
DataFarming is now one of the fastest growing agtech companies in Australia, with more than 22,000 farms already using the system and more than 20 million acres of paddock data processed across Australia, the United Kingdom, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Canada. It has taken a collaborative approach with commercial, government and academic partners, and is an integration partner with six other software companies.
Tim Neale exemplifies what can be done in the digital space and is an inspiration to other Queenslanders wanting to harness the exponential possibilities of technology. Tim was awarded the Pearcey ICT Entrepreneur of the Year (Qld) 2019.
Innovation drivers like DataFarming make digital careers an attractive choice for both current and future workers, especially in our regions. With the plan to provide better access to upskilling and digital skills development, there is more opportunity for place-based education and careers.
- Last updated:
- 24 June 2021