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Knowledge workforce

Investment in the regions workforce.

This second post features programs and initiatives from the second category of our successful Top7 Intelligent Community award submission: showcasing how our region is developing our knowledge workforce, preparing students for future careers, the pathways to higher education and our award-winning educational institutions.

Supporting the region's knowledge workforce


Investment in talent and skills is one of the five critical pathways defined in the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) 2013-2033. Our economy is expected to change significantly in the next two decades, with strong demand for professionals, community and personal service workers and managers over the coming 20 years.

Our education and training sector is equipped with the facilities and capabilities to provide a range of regional training and career planning activities to boost the foundations of the Sunshine Coast’s labour force and economy.

Work has occurred since 2013 to recalibrate aspects of the education and training sector’s offerings to ensure these are clearly targeted to address critical gaps in the region’s workforce profile. This will also assist in developing viable options for our population and meaningful career pathways within the region.

Future-proofing our next generation

The Sunshine Coast is a tech-savvy region with a reputation for innovation and leadership in STEM education. Continued investment in talent and skills prepares our future workforce with the knowledge and experience needed to compete in a global marketplace.

Chancellor State College's RoboClub, Mountain Creek State High School's Coding and Innovation Hub and Glasshouse Christian College's DeLorean Project are three examples of programs that encourage new skills, ideas and opportunities for our young people.

Advanced education opportunities

There is an ongoing investment in the talent and skills required to equip our workforce with the knowledge and experience needed to compete in a global marketplace.

The University of the Sunshine Coast, TAFE Queensland and Sunshine Coast Health Institute are providing the facilities and activities to strengthen the foundations of the Sunshine Coast's labour force and economy.

Community education and employment services

There are also numerous employment services providers and community service organisations providing education and training support across our region:

Outcomes since 2013

  • Study Sunshine Coast is the region’s key student attraction and retention program aimed at increasing both the number of international students, as well as retaining local students into future pathways.
  • Education Sunshine Coast is the peak body for advocacy and promotion, consisting of high-level members from all the region’s key education providers.
  • Our Future Careers program highlights the impact that technology and innovation will have on the region’s seven high value industries and jobs of the future.
  • Annual BiG Day In digital careers conference allows students in Years 9-12 and educators from across the Sunshine Coast to benefit from the insights of experienced technology professionals from a range of global companies.
  • The annual JobShow brings the community together to address the issues of unemployment and available jobs throughout the region.
  • Local industry and community leaders drove the introduction of the Australian Industry Trade College Sunshine Coast campus which offers Year 10-12 students the opportunity to complete their Queensland Certificate of Education while starting a school-based apprenticeship in the trade of their choice.
  • Sunshine Coast - Future proofing our workforce: In 2018, council commissioned a research paper into the future job requirements and opportunities for the region, the impacts of digital disruption to education and the future of work.

The next five years: Investing in talent and skills action plan

Building on our successes since 2013, key activities outlined in the Regional Economic Development Strategy Implementation Plan 2019-2023 are:

  1. Work with state and federal government agencies and local industry to monitor skills and labour shortages, and ensure workforce skill gaps and early solutions are identified for high-value industries and connected to region shaping projects within the region and south east Queensland.
  2. Work with industry representatives and key growth sectors to identify the skilled work requirements to grow and expand the industry’s market footprint.
  3. Investigate partnership opportunities between the public and private sector to design and implement targeted workforce attraction and retention strategies.
  4. Develop local business support programs that support small and medium-sized enterprises to grow (capacity build) and connect (opportunities).
  5. Leverage opportunities in key markets to increase the intake of international students in tertiary, technical and secondary schools.
  6. Leverage the sport connection, talent and skills pathways on the Sunshine Coast to enable national and international connectivity.

More information

Read more about the region-wide programs and initiatives across the awards' Intelligent Community indicators:

  • Broadband: encouraging deployment and adoption, and deploying our own networks where necessary
  • Innovation: creating a culture that engages the entire community in positive change
  • Digital inclusion: providing access to digital technology and connectivity, and offering digital skills training
  • Engagement: building a common understanding of the challenges facing the community and a shared vision for overcoming them
  • Sustainability: improving the quality of life for our community.

The Sunshine Coast has again been named a global Top7 Intelligent Community for the second successive year. The annual awards program recognises the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity on a foundation of information and communications technology, based on six key indicators: Broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital inclusion, engagement and sustainability. The 2020 Top7 Intelligent Communities are now in the running for the prestigious Intelligent Community of the Year, to be announced in October.