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Will technology help solve the skills shortage?

Talk to any Group Training Organisation today (GTO) and you will hear real evidence of Australia's skill shortage.


GTOs are absolutely flush with employment opportunities from employers in multiple industries in 2021. The problem? They are struggling to attract the apprentices they need to fill roles. Despite a massive 28% surge in enrolments in 2020 and 2021 thanks to Government wage incentives brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the candidate pipeline for GTOs is already drying up.


Where will they find a new generation that might find fulfillment in vocational career?


New apprentice candidates and technology


Part of the answer could be for GTOs to look more closely at the technology they are using.


ReadyTech has served the GTO market for about 20 years with management platform Ready Recruit. Now servicing 35% of the market, we have experience with best practice candidate attraction, as well as some of the challenges faced adopting digital tools.


National Business Development Manager Ben Conolan says GTOs have an opportunity post-COVID-19 to benefit from a ‘clear-eyed’ look at their systems, to understand what they can use to attract new apprentices, and what inefficient practices can be let go.


Here are three realities he suggests exploring when GTOs are considering their technology in a candidate-led market.


1. Connect and engage with a digitally native cohort


The generation of potential apprentices coming through have never known a world without smartphones. Having lived through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they interact with the employment market very differently to any other generation in the past.


GTOs looking to attract and engage this digitally native cohort may need to improve their capabilities in the digital environment. GTOs may have to go beyond 'a website with JobAdder' into a new world of digital engagement with a new student generation.


2. Look at digital infrastructure from front to back


This brings us to a broader view of digital infrastructure and a GTO's overarching digital strategy.


With a cohort that is well and truly operating in the digital milieu, GTOs who want to be where their target market is need to think holistically about a digital strategy and how their digital infrastructure will support their efforts into the future.


From client and customer facing systems like CRMs and other attraction and marketing tools, through to integration with back-end admin functions like case management, finance, and compliance, GTOs can utilise technology to manage and streamline attraction.


This includes using data. Any digital strategy will include analytics generated out of digital activities, supporting GTOs with insights that drive better decisions in candidate attraction. This helps them double down on what’s working and drop what’s not, faster.


3. Be sure to humanise your technology approach


This doesn’t mean the end of the important human part of the apprenticeship attraction and engagement process at GTOs. Rather, it means the application of systems to the things they are good at so that humans can actually do their jobs better.


Take the radiography domain, where AI is magnitudes more accurate than humans in diagnosing a medical condition, but it’s the humans you want to be talking to you about the result. GTOs can get the same back-end results from their technology.


Cost or opportunity?


There’s a good chance that, should GTOs have a good look at the technology they are using now, they are probably not using its full functionality. They could put it to better use simply by using what they are have already purchased and are paying for.


There’s also the question of factoring in opportunity costs. If candidates are being asked to go to a website, fill out a form that gets downloaded into a spreadsheet and promised someone will ring some time later, GTOs could end up missing out on them. 


If GTOs consider the opportunities of technology, they may just be able to solve at least some of the skills shortage problem.