COVID-19 is reinforcing and accelerating the need for fundamental change in organisations, and for some, it has been a long time coming.
Like many sectors, education was dramatically upended in a few short weeks after COVID-19. Students in Australian schools and universities moved to remote learning via devices and the rapid increase in digital competency gained by teaching and administrative staff was remarkable. But beyond the changed learning environment, the shift proved something more profound and long-lasting: that education can move faster and embrace change more quickly than anyone previously thought possible. And now it has a major role to play globally, in economic recovery.
In the Reframe Your Future Series, host Natarsha Belling has tackled important questions for the education sector, with some of Australia’s most high-profile and dynamic leaders speaking candidly about how they are reframing their futures, both personally and professionally.
Swinburne University of Technology Vice Chancellor Dr Pascale Quester Vice Chancellor describes her university’s role in Australia’s recovery as, “making sure that we’ve got a new cohort of people who are ready for whatever the future throws at them.”
Part of that will involve designing modules and pieces of learning that do not necessarily require a degree. Quester believes that employers want people with the requisite capacity, skills and knowledge; and that education needs to be customised to the individual and what they want and need at a particular time in their career, or in the transition from one industry to another. She points to the “flexibility, the agility, the customer centricity that comes from understanding that education doesn’t have to be a degree - or nothing.”
At the Australian National University (ANU) economists and academics are helping design programs to get Australians back on their feet, to help reduce unemployment and improve productivity. According to Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, ANU students and staff are encouraged to develop ideas and establish companies that will boost Australia’s economy, and the university will continue to invest in innovation, working with its partners in areas as diverse as bushfire prevention and renewable energy.
The Reframe Your Future series has also spoken about economic recovery with leaders in mining, transport, energy - and now insurance, with TAL CEO Brett Clark. The insurance industry was already undergoing significant shifts on several fronts before COVID-19 created additional pressures. Those shifts included profound regulatory change, rising consumer expectations, intense cost and competitive pressures and an increase in climate-change-related and other natural disasters.