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Using social media and scenario thinking to inform directions for Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system.

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC)* has published its Future Skills and Training Resource developed by Miles Morgan. The Resource is an innovative exploration of future ways of working and learning impacting Australia’s workplaces, through the lens of social media conversations.

Enhancing strategic thinking capacity to inform VET skills and training

The AISC commissioned the project to ensure that the traditional ways of informing the assessment of training needs (e.g. formal labour market data releases, economic and social reviews and forecast reports) were also complemented by emerging digital data sources. The project aims to ensure Australia’s VET sector has the most current information available on the potential impact and timing of global trends affecting skills and training needs.

Miles Morgan used a strategic foresight approach, which looks for signs of change (trends and megatrends) to develop a set of possible future scenarios. This approach has capacity enhancement at its core. Readers of the Resource are encouraged to use scenarios to help identify gaps and weaknesses in their current systems and start thinking strategically about possible solutions.

A practical ‘hitch-hiker’ guide to the world of workplace change

Once we applied a quality filter to the mined data, we reviewed social media (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, online news websites, blogs and forums) from North America, Australasia and the Eurozone to identify/describe global and national trends that are expected to impact skills and training needs relevant to the VET sector. The Resource describes key megatrends categorised under 5 key areas:

  • Society and Culture;
  • Business and Economics;
  • Technology;
  • Resources and Environment; &
  • Political and Institutional.

It also provides details of VET relevant skills, learning and system trends. It combines these trends in different ways to form a series of possible future scenarios, with VET-related implications for employers/industry, learners, government, and the training system.

This resource is intended to stimulate discussion amongst Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) in considering future changes to Training Packages. In addition, broader VET stakeholders will find it useful for preparing their particular sectors to meet the future skills needs of business, learners and workers.

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The scenarios are designed to start national conversations about how global megatrends may affect Australia’s different industry sectors and the future skills and training implications.



*The AISC was established by COAG in 2015 to give industry a formal, expanded role in policy direction and decision-making for the vocational education and training sector. Members include industry leaders nominated by Commonwealth and state and territory ministers responsible for skills and training; a peak body representative (rotating between the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group); and two ex-officio members (senior government officials).



MM presents at Austrade’s ‘Doing Business in the Middle East’ webinar

Earlier this week, Austrade hosted a webinar that focussed on providing information to businesses about how to discover new markets and opportunities through ‘Doing business in the Middle East’. Miles Morgan was one of three businesses invited to speak about their experiences of doing business in the Middle East, joined by speakers from Austrade.

The speakers included:

  • Mark Morley, Senior Trade Commissioner, Austrade Saudi Arabia
  • Gerard Seeber, Senior Trade Commissioner, Austrade Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
  • Cynthia Dearin, Managing Director, Dearin Associates
  • David Yates, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
  • Barbara Macnish, CEO, Miles Morgan Australia

Miles Morgan worked in conjunction with the Saudi Arabian Government in the creation and implementation of the Kingdom’s first national quality framework for career education and development for a number of years.

Barbara provided valuable insights into the Saudi culture and aspects of every day working life.  She emphasised  the importance of understanding and observing cultural traditions as being crucial for successful business interactions in the Middle East. 

On the business front, Barbara highlighted that there is a very different approach to project methodologies and simply replicating an Australian model is not appropriate or advisable. What is required is an open approach to redeveloping a model or framework so that it works for that particular Middle Eastern country and its culture. There are many challenges to working in the Middle East, but also many rewards. Barbara described her experience as one where she

met some of the warmest, loveliest people you’ll ever meet – anywhere.

Key take away points for those wanting to do business in the Middle East – in the first instance, contact Austrade and Efic. They can provide invaluable advice about cultural aspects – in particular for practical social requirements, organising introductions, Export Development grants and performance bonds. Most of all, be open to the experience of working with a different culture: not only will your business grow, there are great opportunities for personal growth too.

For more information about Miles Morgan’s experiences in the Middle East, read the Austrade Case Study on our work in Saudi Arabia.

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MM invited to participate in Efic’s SME Briefing: Transform your business through exporting

The success of Miles Morgan’s work in Saudi  Arabia, in creating and implementing the Kingdom’s national quality framework for career education and development over several years has created a buzz in business circles this year. So much so that Barbara Macnish, our Managing Director, has been asked to be a panellist at the Efic SME Briefing that will be held on 1 March at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. The hot topic for the panellist event is how to grow and expand your business through exporting.


The host for the panellist discussion will be Emma Alberici, presenter on ABC1’s Lateline Program.

[caption id="attachment_1161" align="aligncenter" width="757"] Image source: Efic SME Briefing Invitation[/caption]


The panel features:

Barbara Macnish, Managing Director, Miles Morgan, Australia, which provides research, policy and consultancy services, predominantly to government organisations, domestically and internationally.

Ed Neilan, CEO, Radlink Communications, a leader in radio technology solutions helping businesses keep in touch with their employees and monitor direct operations.

Sheryll Fisher, Managing Director, Outback Initiatives, a provider of experiential learning solutions for change leadership.

Nader El Sayed, CEO, Multiplant Holdings, an engineering and construction business focused on civil works and contract mining.

It looks to be a lively discussion and we can’t wait to hear what the other panelists have to say about their experiences in exporting and how this helped their business to grow.  We, at Miles Morgan, are looking forward to sharing our experiences working in Saudi Arabia.


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Miles Morgan’s success in Saudi Arabia’s career education and development framework is showcased by Austrade

We are very excited to have worked in conjunction with the Saudi Arabian Government in the creation and implementation of the Kingdom’s national quality framework for career education and development.

“Our role was to create the quality framework that underpins and shapes the development of local qualifications to better equip Saudi people, especially younger people, with the knowledge and skills to make effective career choices.”

Read the export case study Australian expertise helps enhance Saudi Arabia’s education and training standards on the Austrade website.

To download a PDF version of the export case study click


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