Dean's Lecture Series:

Workplace Literacies and the Factories of the Future

The rise of robotics in manufacturing requires workers to have sophisticated literacy skills so they can direct machines and join up innovation and production networks. With machines doing the work that people used to do, the way products are imagined, developed, produced and distributed is being transformed, creating new work for people.

However, 93 per cent of manufacturing employers report that low workforce literacy and numeracy are impacting their business, according to the Australian Industry Group. Educators, governments and the OECD share concerns about the relationship between workforce literacy skills, the productivity of global companies and the success of national economies. Professor Farrell will explore how the digital revolution, known as Industry 4.0, is fundamentally challenging our understanding of working literacies.

CVEP public seminar:

The Challenges of Industry 4.0 for Work and Literacy Education Policy

The Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education is examining the workforce needs of the workplaces and workspaces of the future. These workplaces are said to be in the middle of a 'fourth industrial revolution', often referred to simply as 'Industry 4.0'. The emerging 'smart' factories in Industry 4.0 increasingly rely upon automation augmented by artificial intelligence, the crowdsourcing of tasks, and the use of freelance workers.

Established industries, such as manufacturing in Australia, have been disrupted by these changes, leading to job losses. There is a need to support transitions for existing workers into new jobs and the preparation of new workers for the workplaces of the future.

What are the implications of these changes for vocational literacy, training and careers guidance policy? These questions will be the focus of this symposium. Our aim is to stimulate debate, engage with stakeholders, and ultimately to inform policy and pedagogy, based not on predictions for the future but on a better understanding of what is happening in workplaces now.