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Contest on tackling challenges for future workforce launched

Released at: 15:09, 05/07/2017

Contest on tackling challenges for future workforce launched

Young innovators discuss crowd-solving solutions to the Youth, Skills, and the Workforce of the Future challenge. Photo: Australian Embassy in Hanoi

Australian Government, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Atlassian Foundation launch Solve Challenge in Hanoi and HCMC.

by Le Diem

Solve Challenge, a contest for bringing together some of the country’s most innovative minds to workshop ideas and solutions to support the workforce of the future was launched in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this week by the Australian Government’s innnovationXchange in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Solve Initiative and the Atlassian Foundation.

The contest is part of the Youth, Skills & the Workforce of the Future Challenge, a global competition trying to answer the question: “How can disadvantaged youth learn the skills they need to prepare them for the workforce of the future and thrive in the 21st century?”

The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by rapid advances in technological innovation. While new technology can generate jobs and increase workplace productivity, it also creates job displacement and widens the skills gap. Today’s generation of young people now face a world in which nearly half of all jobs globally are at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation and technological advancement in the coming decades.

“It’s not just that jobs are disappearing, as World Bank studies suggest that four out of five people born today will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet,” said Australian Consul General Karen Lanyon. “We need to be teaching flexible and transferable skills that will prepare the next generation for any future.”

The Australia Government and Atlassian Foundation are contributing $1.06 million each to crowd-source expertise and innovative ideas from the region. Contributions from Vietnam include enabling technology that connects separated families through games that instill shared values, and increased training opportunities in sectors least threatened by automation, such as caregiving.

“We are putting the perspective of vulnerable and disadvantaged youth at the center of these discussions and it’s fantastic to see the creative ideas coming from Vietnamese talent,” said Ms. Lanyon. “We really hope some of these innovators make it the next round and have the opportunity to pitch their ideas in New York at the United Nations General Assembly in September.”

The challenge is just one example of the way Australia’s aid program is looking to new partners and approaches to deliver aid more effectively and sustainably to support economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region.

People with relevant expertise or with an innovative idea are encouraged to participate in the Solve Challenge. Applications are open until August 1 and further details, including how to apply, can be found at https://solve.mit.edu/challenges/youth-skills-the-workforce-of-the-future.

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