Ed­u­ca­tion, skills the pil­lars

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - CAMERON WHITE­LEY

UR­BAN in­fill, dig­i­tal lit­er­acy in the work­force and the im­por­tance of a vi­brant ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem were themes of a panel dis­cus­sion about Tas­ma­nia’s im­me­di­ate fu­ture. Speak­ing at yes­ter­day’s

Mer­cury Fu­ture Tas­ma­nia event yes­ter­day, Blue Edge Prop­erty man­ag­ing di­rec­tor John Huiz­ing said ex­plor­ing in­ner-city op­tions for more hous­ing in Ho­bart would be cru­cial in com­ing years.

“When you look at units at the mo­ment, most of those around the water­front are al­ready taken care of, so we can’t ex­pand any more there,” he said. “We’re go­ing to be look­ing at maybe the CBD and places like North Ho­bart.

“Within the CBD, we’re go­ing to have to look at older build­ings there which might need re­fur­bish­ing to be­come units.

TasTAFE chief ex­ec­u­tive Jenny Dodd said the im­por­tance of work­ers adapt­ing to new tech­nol­ogy in in­dus­try was a cen­tral pil­lar in the chang­ing na­ture of work.

“We call it dig­i­tal lit­er­acy, but I call it dig­i­tal adapt­abil­ity,’’ she said.

“The abil­ity to be con­fi­dent in the dig­i­tal space, which comes from also em­bed­ding that in our learn­ing to be able to go for­ward.”

Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia Pro­fes­sor Richard Ec­cle­ston — who spe­cialises in the field of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence — said suc­cess­ful re­gions were ones that pos­sessed strong ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems.

“In a knowl­edge econ­omy, ed­u­ca­tion and skills is re­ally im­por­tant,’’ he said.

“We’re not just talk­ing about univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion, but as a state we need to make sure all Tas­ma­ni­ans ir­re­spec­tive of their back­ground and age have got the op­por­tu­nity to learn, build knowl­edge and de­velop skills.”

Prof Ec­cle­ston said there were many rea­sons to be op­ti­mistic about the state’s po­si­tion, “but we also can’t be com­pla­cent”.

“Part of that op­ti­mism is about the re­cent eco­nomic and pop­u­la­tion growth and that’s im­por­tant, but it’s prob­a­bly a cause of broader struc­tural fac­tors that we need to ex­ploit and con­sol­i­date,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

TALK: Mer­cury as­so­ci­ate ed­i­tor Amanda Ducker with Pro­fes­sor Richard Ec­cle­ston, left, TasTAFE chief Jenny Dodd, Blue Edge Prop­erty’s John Huiz­ing and Bernard Salt.

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