At the 2018 STEM Workforce Conference industry, education, and government engaged in discussion about the next big thing in technology – what it meant for industry and its impact on the future workforce. One of the many takeaway messages from that conference was “we must capitalise on that which will not change”.

We all agreed that – although technology is advancing at a rapid rate, it is a constant. It’s not going away and, indeed, will continue to transform the industrial base – and quickly.

The impact of next generation technology has recently come to the fore in the Hunter region with the arrival of the F-35 at RAAF Base Williamtown. The most advanced fighter jet on the planet, the F-35 creates opportunities the likes of which we’ve never seen. It brings an economy of its own and is creating new and exciting jobs, jobs that will employ our children’s children – smart, high value jobs.

The arrival of the jets highlights the fact that Next Generation – which suggests skills and technology of the future – is, in fact, NOW. The technology is already here – and with it comes a complex set of opportunities and challenges best addressed by a skilled, local, homegrown workforce equipped with a complex set of Next Generation skills. The demand for skills is urgent – we need to act now to prepare – to up-skill, re-skill, and train.

So … What are these Next Generation problems? What are Next Generation skills? How do we ensure our workforce across all industry sectors has them? And how do we keep them current?

The NEXT GENERATION IS NOW 2019 STEM Workforce Conference will draw on the knowledge of industry, research and education experts to examine these issues, highlight the Hunter’s demand for skills and gaps in meeting this demand. With assistance from Conference delegates, a common vision for strengthening our local workforce will be developed.

It will be an opportunity for RDA Hunter to gain insights into the future requirements of industry and tailor the next iterations of its STEM skilling initiatives accordingly. And, it will provide a forum for collaboration between industry, government and education providers to shape workforce development in the region.


 8.45am – 3pm (Coffee from 8am)

3pm – 5pm (Discussion + Networking)



$225 + gst

• Increase awareness of the importance of ‘next generation’ skills – what they are, why industry needs them, how people get them
• Facilitate discussion and urgency around the ‘real’ skills needs of Hunter industry
• Raise awareness of the economic growth advantages of a homegrown workforce
• Start discussion around any possible gap between students’ current learning and the actuality of what they need to know to gain employment
• Glean information/insights to inform future iterations of RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce Initiatives

• Business
• Education – all levels + decision-makers
• Researchers
• Industry
• Government

The Conference agenda has been planned to guide the audience’s thinking towards meaningful workforce development outcomes. Next Generation is Now builds urgency around the need to improve workforce skills – the key theme of the event. Secondly, RDA Hunter aims to highlight the economic development advantages of building a homegrown workforce.

Kate O’Mara
0412 303 744