Build your skills to build your career

The more skills you have, the better you are able to compete in a competitive jobs market.
The more skills you have, the better you are able to compete in a competitive jobs market.


GOOD communication skills and robust emotional intelligence are the keys to forging a successful career, according to MyCareer editor Eve Fisher.

The changing nature of the workplace means people need to be constantly upskilling and building on their experiences. Most importantly they need to not only be good at their job, but good at critical thinking, questioning and thinking outside the square, she said.

“It is a competitive marketplace and employers really can be choosy about who they have joining their team,” Ms Fisher said.

“It’s no longer enough just to have the skills; you have to be the right fit for the team and the environment.

“Good communication skills are vital because it means you are approachable and can make your ideas clear. Solid emotional intelligence gives you the edge so you become a sought-after person in a workplace.”

One way to help build that skill base is through online study. Open Universities Australia offers 170 courses through leading tertiary institutions such as Griffith, RMIT, Monash and Macquarie universities as well as TAFE institutions.

OUA executive director of operations Michelle Beveridge said Australia was reaching a point where online was replacing the campus “in terms of student engagement by using Wikis and blogs and having students create their own content and interact with lecturers”.

“Students appreciate the online and instant feedback,” she said.

Ms Beveridge said OUA students could study at their own pace - at any time and as much or as little as they liked – meaning some were fast tracking their degree by making the most of four study periods per year while others could take up to 10 years to complete a full qualification.

The choice belongs to the student, she said.

Courses offered through OUA range from long-established disciplines such as psychology, law, politics, nursing practices, journalism, business and accounting and education. Newer choices include logistics, web publishing and animation, database concepts, biotechnology, energy trading and environmental management.

Growth areas include education, health and aged care, IT, transport and storage, building and construction, mining and resources and agrifood and agribusiness.



The November 2011 Clarius Skills Index reported that in the education sector, for every 107 people retiring, only 73 qualified people would be available to fill their shoes. This is a result of the recent baby boom combined with the looming retirement of many teachers. As well as general primary and secondary teachers, there will also be a greater need for specialist teachers with postgraduate qualifications, and teachers’ aides. Higher education lecturers and tutors will be in demand, especially for online course delivery.

Health and care professions

The combination of an ageing population and double-income families means that demand for aged care and child care professionals will continue to grow. Health professionals also remain in high demand, from GPs, pharmacists and nurses and midwives to aged care workers, physiotherapists, dental technicians and occupational therapists.

Information technology

IT plays a role in virtually all industries.  Social media specialists, systems analysts, designers and developers, computer programmers, web developers and publishers, consultants and information managers, as well as hardware engineers will continue to be in demand throughout the private and public sector. This also includes experts in e-commerce and business applications.

Transport and storage

While the growth in online shopping means traditional stores are undergoing a massive change, people will always need goods. And goods need to be grown, mined, produced, imported if necessary, then stored and distributed. The transport and storage industry is a sophisticated, high-tech industry and managers and administrators with strong logistics and supply chain management skills will be in demand, as well as road and rail transport drivers.

Building and construction

People will always need shelter – for homes, workplaces, community and education. While there will be changes in the technology involved, the building and construction industry will still be active, particularly sustainable building. There will continue to be jobs for building and engineering professionals and associate professionals and tradespeople.

Mining and resources

The demand for natural resources will create employment opportunities in coming years, particularly in new projects in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Those skilled in engineering and trades will be in particular demand.

Agrifood and agribusiness

Agriculture is a very significant industry that has a shortage of skilled labour. Jobs range from artificial insemination technicians, agricultural scientists and landcare co-ordinators to forestry workers, meat and seafood inspectors and farmers.

* This article was written by an independent journalist as part of a commercial agreement with Open Universities Australia.