Bachelor-qualified workers demand recognition for prior learning and experience

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Bachelor-qualified workers demand recognition for prior learning and experience

18 December 2019: While the majority of Australian workers with university degrees are not interested in formal learning, most could potentially change their mind if their prior experience and learning are formally recognised, according to Deloitte’s latest higher education report.

Where to next? Beyond the skills gap revealed four key factors that would incentivise this group to undertake formal learning: recognition of prior learning and/or experience, learning delivered at the workplace, flexible assessment, and options to pause and re-engage as needed.

Deloitte surveyed nearly 3,500 Australians aged 18 and over who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree for their view on the skills required for their current and future jobs, and how they plan to equip themselves with these skills.

Deloitte’s National Education Lead Partner, Colette Rogers, said: “As a nation, we must continue to maintain and build the skills of our post-bachelor workers to support them in securing and sustaining quality employment. But to effectively do this, we need a culture of lifelong learning across our industries and workforces.

“Last year in our Higher education for a changing world survey, we explored the views and intentions of Australian workers in relation to further education.

“This year’s survey builds on these themes to explore the key factors that would encourage postgraduate learning. It also supports the development of effective strategies to strengthen the capabilities of our workforce through improved engagement with formal learning.”

More than half the respondents (58%) believe a formal certification helps demonstrate their capabilities to current or potential employers as part of the hiring or promotion decisions. Yet 56% of post-bachelor workers are not interested in formal learning.

Some workers (38%) believe that formal learning is not required for the skills they need. Others (37%) cite the lack of time to study. A smaller proportion (28%) think further study is too expensive.

Lachlan Smirl, Deloitte Access Economics Partner, said: ”The good news is 71% of workers surveyed could be persuaded to pursue further study if their prior experience or learning could be recognised as advanced credit in order to reduce the amount of formal learning required.”

Rogers said there is significant scope to improve the awareness and application of RPL and RPE, as well as the value of formal learning to Australian workers.

“Recognising existing skills is an important way of encouraging lifelong formal learning. Both employers and education providers have a crucial role in working together to provide on-the-job learning activities and skills certification.

“RPL and RPE processes should be streamlined so education providers can more easily credit learners for their existing skills and knowledge. However, we need to ensure the credit assessment and award processes are quality assured to protect the integrity of Australian qualifications and certifications.”

Four key recommendations:

  1. Credit where credit is due: Recognise my prior learning and experience, so I can fast track to completion
  • Improve access to recognition of prior learning through clear information and greater access to academic credit, where appropriate
  • Develop robust quality-assured mechanisms to assess and credit competencies developed through prior experience

2. My pace, my place: Enable workers to learn where, when and how they live

  • Provide flexibility that enables learners to engage, take a break, pick up again, and submit assessments when it suits their other work and life commitments, where feasible.
  • Deliver learning at the places convenient to these learners,  including where they work, supported by employer and provider partnerships that retain and upskill talent at scale.

3. Stack and pack: Provide micro-learning options that can stack

  • Provide short courses and postgraduate qualifications (or even better, short courses that stack towards qualifications).
  • Provide credit or recognition that learners can bank until they need it, or enable them to intermit when life takes an unexpected turn

4. Show the value: Educate workers on the value and advantages of formal learning in a changing world

  • Educate workers on the labour market, employer needs for specific skills, and the value and return on investment for further formal learning
  • Promote the quality, standards and industry credibility of further formal learning that leads to career advantage

About the report

In 2019, Deloitte commissioned a survey nearly of nearly 3,500 Australians aged 18 and over, who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree, for their view on the skills they need for their current and future jobs, and how they plan to equip themselves with these skills. We explored barriers to formal learning and the enabling factors that would encourage uninterested workers to reconsider. We then asked further questions on the features that are key considerations in the selection of a course or provider. The survey was nationally representative across age groups and genders. The distribution of respondents across industry and occupation was monitored throughout the survey-fielding period to ensure the sample represented various industries and occupations.

Media contact:

Tanya Jayasuriya
Corporate Affairs & Communications
M: +61 422 155 002
T: +61 3 9671 7941

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