Now and Next Workforce Innovation Fund to Address Short and Long-Term Workforce Supply

With 27+ years’ experience in this field, based in Australia as well as working with 30-40 countries internationally, you don’t have to ask twice to have a fund designed that builds upon excellent aspects of initiatives from the past, is fit for purpose, and considers not only workforce issues now but for the next future workforce.  This builds upon experience as a strategic workforce planner and VET/TVET expert, being on many funding panels with selection processes, coaching and mentoring thousands of projects that are focused on solving problems with innovation solutions.

In the past, goals of funds have been things like to create jobs… but now we need to match workforce demand and workforce supply.  Underutilised labour pools will be important in solving workforce gaps.

Please note that this fund isn’t up and running yet and if you are a policy maker for the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments, please feel free to reach out and get in touch to discuss the detail of how it could work.

The purpose of the fund is to:

  • Address workforce gaps when comparing the workforce at this time and the future workforce
  • Encourage experimentation with non-accredited training and workforce development initiatives that are world-class
  • Explore experiential learning and development methods facilitated by experts, industry and international leaders
  • Tap into latent workforce potential and people who may be underemployed

Any entity should be a proponent as you never know where innovative solutions will come from with in-kind support but not matched funding, rather a competitive process where this support is one of the criteria to consider when comparing applications against each other.

A simple application form that captures:

  1. Proponent and key contact details
  2. Funding sought and in-kind contribution – Total amount $; In-kind $; Brief budget outlined
  3. Categories (tick all that are relevant in terms of focus):
  • Businesses/Employer/s
  • Industry sector/s
  • Latent workforce potential
  • Networks/associations – peak professional bodies, industry based, location based and/or informal networks
  • Regional (rural, remote, cities, towns)
  • Small businesses
  • Startups
  • Scaleups
  • Supply Chain/s
  1. Who is involved? How many organisations and people?  Name specific organisations and partners as well as any underutilised labour pools involved (highlighting diversity).
  2. What is the purpose of the funding? What specific workforce issues (supply, demand, gaps) are you addressing?
  3. What critical job roles and/or capabilities are being addressed now and/or in the future?
  4. How will this project demonstrate world-class outcomes and practices?
  5. What is the start date?
  6. What is the finish date?
  7. What activities will the project facilitate? Are you applying any specific methodologies*?
  8. What outcomes will the project deliver and for whom?
  9. What evidence will you use to measure success and how will you identify areas for improvement?
  10. What risk identification and mitigation strategies will you put in place?

With guidance on the amount of the fund, minimum and maximum amounts, as well as what the grant can and can’t be used for.

*Methodologies/approaches could include and are not limited to:

  • Appreciative inquiry
  • Bootcamps
  • Buddying and shadowing
  • Business model canvas
  • Business planning
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Community of innovation
  • Customer experience (CX) and/or user experience (UX)
  • Delegations and exchanges
  • Design thinking
  • Events and tours
  • Experts in residence and/or business champions
  • Experience, product or service design
  • Innovation challenges
  • Instructional design
  • Lean startup
  • Micro credentialling
  • Networking
  • Online learning
  • Pivot and prosper
  • Scaling up framework (locally, nationally, internationally)
  • Skills training (accredited and non-accredited)
  • Supply chain roadmap
  • Webinars and workshops

If you are considering implementing an open call for applications then around 6-8 weeks notice works well, but the impact of COVID on the workforce is acute at this time so you’d want to get it up and running ASAP.

To discuss how a fund like this could work, please contact Wendy Perry via, thank you.

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