All wired for

Some tech­nol­ogy skills will stand you in good stead, Ben Pike dis­cov­ers.

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page -

FASTER mo­bile tech­nol­ogy and the shift to a dig­i­tal econ­omy is mak­ing ba­sic com­puter and IT skills a must in to­day’s work­force.

About 91 per cent of Aus­tralian busi­nesses have an in­ter­net con­nec­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tions in­creas­ingly in­sist their em­ploy­ees have skills in us­ing mo­bile de­vices and PCs.

Em­ploy­ers, how­ever, may need to help their work­ers bridge the skills gap, with 78 per cent of work­ers aged 60 and over say­ing IT skills have been im­por­tant to get work and that they have needed to up­date them.

Greg Wall, owner of com­puter train­ing com­pany Wall to Wall Com­puter Ser­vices, of­fers cour­ses on how to use Mi­crosoft pro­grams.

He says there are more peo­ple at­tend­ing his train­ing cen­tre who are seek­ing a dif­fer­ent ca­reer path, re­turn­ing to the work­force af­ter hav­ing chil­dren, or feel­ing left be­hind in the dig­i­tal age.

‘‘ There are for­mer man­agers out there who have been able to avoid com­put­ers be­cause they thought it was too hard or had peo­ple un­der them to do it but they are not go­ing away from the work­force and they need these skills,’’ he says.

‘‘ Now they are work­ing as con­sul­tants and re­alise they can’t work with pen and pa­per.

‘‘ The lev­els of skill of the av­er­age of­fice worker have gone up a lot.

‘‘ Whereas Mi­crosoft Word was the stan­dard 20 years ago, peo­ple are work­ing a lot more with the mouse.

‘‘ These days it’s expected peo­ple have good knowl­edge of Win­dows, Out­look (to send and re­ceive emails and set up meet­ings), cre­at­ing and build­ing re­ports and putting to­gether doc­u­ments and email­ing them.’’

Wall says in the past five years it has be­come expected that peo­ple have ba­sic Mi­crosoft Ex­cel knowl­edge, such as tak­ing a list, sort­ing it and per­form­ing ba­sic cal­cu­la­tions.

He says an­other im­por­tant skill is work­ing with pivot tables in Ex­cel, which lets users sort 60,000 rows of data within three sec­onds – if they know what they are do­ing.

A News Lim­ited sur­vey this year found that 84 per cent of re­spon­dents have taught them­selves to use the in­ter­net.

An­other 10 per cent say they have learnt to do so ei­ther through do­ing a course or at school.

Fifty-six per cent of re­spon­dents say they are re­quired to go on­line for their jobs; 14.5 per cent say they oc­ca­sion­ally have to go on­line for work. As well as know­ing how to work on com­put­ers in the of­fice, many em­ploy­ers now en­cour­age staff to be pro­fi­cient

Pic­ture: Bren­ton Ed­wards

Leanne Duffield, bank­ruptcy of­fi­cer at MyBud­get.

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