The Victorian government seeks to address demand for ICT and related skills across government and industry in the state, according to the Victorian Government’s chief technology advocate, Grantly Mailes.
The Victorian government plans to release an ICT skills review soon, addressing “what needs to be done to fill some of the emerging skills gaps in the market”, Mailes told CIO Australia.
The review will consider changes to ICT education and ways to entice more students to pursue a career in ICT, he said. It will also tackle gender balance and how to prepare students to be work ready.
“My understanding talking to people is that we also need to get a mix of business and IT skills in the people who are graduating,” Mailes said. “That is for me an apparent gap in the way that we’re seeing people introduced to the market.”
The market views the difficulty in finding people with the right ICT skills as a significant problem, said Mailes. “It’s not for me to second guess.”
Mailes was appointed chief technology advocate in March. He is tasked with the job of implementing the Victoria government’s ICT plan, released in February.
“The fact that we’ve caught every deadline since we released the plan in February is probably the biggest win,” said Mailes. “We’ve not missed a target. Many have come in more in quantum than we thought, or earlier than we thought, or both.”
Mailes highlighted an initiative under the plan to publish government data. In September, Victoria technology minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said the government had made more than 1000 datasets available to the public, including 550 geospatial datasets identifying the geographic location of natural and constructed features and boundaries of Victoria.
“We’ve far exceeded the 1000 target and we did it much earlier than we thought,” said Mailes. “There’s still plenty of room to grow the data sets and to grow the depth of them, but we’re very keen that we now have government data available to the community.
“We’re still pushing to have more datasets available and we’re now working to create value with those datasets,” he said.
The Victorian government is encouraging the private sector to create applications using the data and plans to hold hack days to continue the push, Mailes said. The initiative creates value for the community with no development costs for the state, he said.
“We’re happy with the way that the community has embraced the data and we’ve got a couple of big applications on the way.”
Mailes also reported progress overhauling ICT procurement since July’s launch of the cloud-powered eServices Register. The state government currently has more than 500 accredited firms registered on the system, he said.
The Register is the Vic government’s first US-hosted cloud service, he said. “We didn’t have to stand up a very big project to develop the system, which meant the project came in on time and under the budget we allocated.”
“By buying a cloud-based service for a global electronic marketplace”, the state government potentially has access to 700,000 buyers and sellers, he said. So do the small and medium-sized businesses signed up for the Register, giving them greater exposure, he said.
Mailes said he is confident about meeting the ICT plan’s targets at least out to November. In addition, he said the government is already hard at work on refreshing the strategy, which was set up as a rolling two-year document, for version 2.0.
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