Roaming the country attending conferences and speaking to people I get the impression that the spatial industry is alive and well, but there is a growing concern about the next generation (lack of, that is) of surveyors, GIS specialists and other spatial professionals.
Following the recent CRCSI conference the final communiqué stated: “The skilled capacity problems in Australia are a widespread concern and they are getting worse. There needs to be a focus on the tertiary education sector in order to better address these capacity shortages.
“The spatial science industry has an image problem. It suffers from a lack of awareness. There is nothing new in these issues. They are well known and we do not seem to have an effective strategy yet for dealing with them.”
I am not sure if the CRCSI members talked to WASSIC attendees over the other side of the country, but they were certainly on the same wavelength. The WASSIC forum in Fremantle heard and discussed the exact same points, difficulties and possible solutions: the spatial industry’s lack of visibility in the public’s mind, how to make the industry ‘sexy’ and grab the attention of school children and young adults, and how to ensure a constant – and growing – stream of young people coming through the educational system to replace a workforce whose average age is growing every year.
It seems industry leaders have identified the problems and are working on possible solutions. What appears to be missing is a common, national forum that would pool all the effort into a comprehensive and effective program.
Until next time,