National Summit ‘Creating Australia 2040 – Education & Employability’

What is the Society we want to be in 2040 and how do we get there? 

After three years of disruption and unpredictable devastation, the time came for us to explore and develop a holistic vision and roadmap of what Australia could be in 2040 – a resilient, fair and prosperous society that embraces the needs of both its peoples and their lands.

Bringing together a broad-based coalition of influential thought leaders in a cross-sectoral collaborative partnership, our inaugural ‘Creating Australia 2040 – Education & Employability’ National Summit held on 4 August 2022 was the first of a series of events that explored the key issues that required questioning, re-imagining and progressing towards the Society we want to be.

Simon Hann

This National Summit, chaired by ACoP Director Simon Hann, showcased our convening power and ability to galvanise thought leaders across professional landscapes to explore key questions and identify practical, inclusive, evidence-based approaches to address the education and employability challenges of the next two decades, with a view to develop an integrated ‘Set of Principles’ that embody our collective commitment and responsibility in delivering on the Australia 2040 vision.Here, we would like to share a recap of the Summit and invite your participation in ongoing discussions on these important issues.

Keynote: Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

Renowned academic, editor and author Prof Julianne Schultz AM FAHA opened our National Summit by encouraging us to contemplate defining Australia’s national identity for 2040 and beyond, suggesting that it will require our nation to consider its history, its shared experience and how we can learn from it. With migration waves over many years resulting in multiple layers of who and what Australia is, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise of the ‘expert’ and a new respect for professionals. With that as catalyst, she reminded us that now is the opportunity to build on trust in experts.

Julianne spoke firmly about the need for professionals to demonstrate deep knowledge about the society they operate in, and our nation will require experts from all fields to come together and step up with a public voice, from their respective professional perspective to lead and model respective conversations. She concluded by inspiring us, as professionals and experts in our chosen field, to be bold and imaginative.

Keynote: Dr Simon Eassom – Chief Futurist

Dr Simon Eassom

Our Chief Futurist, Dr Simon Eassom provided us with a plethora of thought-provoking insights and explored the challenges before the higher education sector. He outlined three seismic shifts:

  1. Continuous technology changes will change the future of work resulting in no long-term career jobs
  2. The need to align learning with labour market requirements to address the widening gap between higher education offerings and the workforce skills required
  3. ‘100-year life’- where workers will need to reinvent and keep pace to remain employable

Simon spoke of the disruption facing education with a call for Australia to align and use Artificial Intelligence and gig data across the life/learning cycle. He suggested a useful 5- step roadmap to:

  1. Create a long-term vision
  2. Transform the student experience
  3. Develop a national data strategy
  4. Collaborate with industry to prepare for tomorrow’s workforce
  5. Create an agile ecosystem to lower costs and create equity

As an extension to that roadmap, he proposed that Universities need to develop a technology framework, with innovative curriculum and personalised courses that are aligned to careers and linked to certification for lifelong learning. He urged Universities to re-imagine their workforce and engage more with industry. Simon suggested that the learning environment must change to one that is on-demand, with micro and macro chunks of learning and assessments that are delivered when the learner is ready. He concluded with a thought-provoking idea that degrees may not be a relevant qualification in the future…

Industry Panel Session

The Industry Panel, facilitated by Glenn Campbell, asked our panellists what Australia needed in Higher Education to ensure we have the professions with the knowledge and skills to take us to the Australia we want to be in 2040.

Michelle Loader suggested that the biggest enabler for that is to embrace what we don’t yet know, to leverage technology, engage in personalised learning pathways, and Universities transforming into innovation hubs to commercialise. Cherie Diaz underscored the need for greater collaboration between Universities and Industry to enable growth, while Shivani Gopal spoke eloquently for inclusive workplaces, embracing gender, cultures, languages and future ways of thinking with a focus on experiential learning where core skills and lifelong learning build peripheral skills. Our final speaker, Dr Geethani Nair, who was unbale to present on the day, offered themes to be raised on her behalf that pertained to professionals broadening their digital skills that will require constant adaption, suggesting that digital skills were pathways into jobs, not qualifications, with employer led digital skills standards.

As the discussion evolved, panellists agreed that there needed to be a shift in the way we think about ‘talent’, with professions needing to adjust their model to accommodate diversity and changing needs in career progression and development. The necessity to mentor and support entrants into the professions was also discussed as were critical issues pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. There was consensus that there is a great deal of fatigue among individuals and organisations in relation to diversity and inclusion, yet the level of ‘talk’ is not matched with the ‘walk’, with many organisations implementing diversity quotas yet not focussing on inclusion, thus affecting women, people of colour, people of minority backgrounds, with a potential to erode workplace psychological safety. The panel urged organisations to embrace inclusion and provide equity in order to achieve diversity.

Government funding was also discussed as a mechanism to enable tangible outcomes and finally the panellists concluded with the need to reimagine closing the gap between education and industry, with higher education and vocational education and training becoming a more integrated ecosystem, creating more touch points with professional associations.

Education Panel Session

The Education Panel, facilitated by Professor Sally Kift, started deliberations by asking the panellists what the future of work might look like for the professions and what some of the barriers and enablers to that future are.

Mark Mckenzie talked about the agility of skills that will constantly reshape so education systems need to be equally responsive to reskilling and upskilling, suggesting that Micro-Credentials will be part of the solution whereby professionals will need to be well-rounded and have skills diversity. Jenny Dodd added that agility also extended to forming partnerships to deliver the education and training needed from TAFEs, Universities and professional associations. Peter Chesworth reminded us that with the current skills shortages, Australia cannot rely on migration as we did in the past and that companies are willing to pay to obtain the best talent. Troy Williams spoke about school leavers having four to five careers over their lifetime and how Micro-Credentials will enable the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce from one occupation to another. However, he cautioned that Vendor Micro-Credentials will also need to be recognised by industry and professional associations to enable this to occur.

The panellists all agreed that there is an urgent need for lifelong learning that is underpinned by an initial qualification requiring a lifelong learning strategy. This will require every quartile of the workforce to be actively engaged as there is a growing demand from industry for skills, not qualifications alone. These skills need to be aligned with what industry needs, however, the panel highlighted the disconnect between industry needing skills and education focussing on qualifications.

Panellists proposed a national skills recognition framework, backed by government and industry funding that challenges the industrial award framework which is currently based on qualifications, not skills. Ultimately, as the panel concluded, industry needs to step in to provide funding and workplace experience as part of the solution to the skills shortage. This will require embedding principles of equity and a more integrated approach between industry and professional associations, government and education. In other words, a more agile and integrated education ecosystem is required to enable the workforce of the future.

Summary

The National Summit was commended by the participants as an inspiring success. These Q&As crystalise the thoughts and take-aways from our Summit.

Q: Partnerships between higher education providers and industry provide an important opportunity to improve work integrated learning; and options to count work experience as credit towards micro credentials. What scaffolding or incentives do we need to drive greater participation in industry – higher education partnerships?

  • Higher education and industry can work together to track learning outcomes. Universities could work with employers to design new performance measures to demonstrate return on investment – not only in terms of acquisition of required workforce skills, but also in terms of impact on employee retention and progression.
  • In return, industry can feed back into universities the learning outcomes, and opportunities for optimisation based on emergent environmental factors.
  • Ultimately, we need people to be able to make informed choices between acquiring intellective capabilities or job skills, based on their life stage, career aspirations and capacity to pay. People need learning opportunities mapped to career goals – that track their return on investment.
  • Industry-higher education partnerships are happening at all levels of the learner lifecycle; however, it isn’t always easy to identify opportunities for partnerships. This is an area that micro-credentials and Work Integrated Learning (WIL), in particular, can help to shift. 
  • Elements that will be important for success include:
  • Clarity of roles in such partnerships
  • Understanding of the education and assessment model
  • Consideration of how to include SMEs as such partnerships tend to be driven towards larger/national organisations for scalability
  • Openness to extending the lifecycle (e.g. career outcomes)

Q: How do the panel think the professions will react to the concept of adaptive assessment based on reaching competencies in a flexible time-frame?

  • Universities and other providers of further and higher education already offer a huge range of flexible, stackable credentials, from which students can pick and mix to create their unique portfolio of knowledge, skills and capabilities.
  • To be truly adaptive within commercial timeframes, industry, government and educational institutions could align on the set of capabilities that will drive us forward. An aligned framework would form a common language around what we are skilling, hiring, and developing for. The underpinning framework would adapt to changing conditions, and the skilling and talent development models can shift accordingly.
  • Maybe we are heading towards an internationally recognised accreditation framework, so that course credits can readily be transferred between programs, providers (including in different countries) and pathways (blending higher education and industry application). For example, using blockchain technology, learners could build a lifelong record of learning attainment, at a much more granular and useful level.
  • There is growing traction of portfolio and skills-based hiring practices, which reinforces that employers are increasingly recognising the importance of both technical competency and the ability to apply/transfer that knowledge and skill.
  • To do this authentically requires assessment practices that are real-life/authentic and also reinforce the importance of reflection in the development process.
  • Operationally, it will require education providers of all types to shift their delivery models with a greater focus on scaffolding the learning process, building flexibility into their content, case studies, and interaction points with peers, and importantly a personalised feedback loop.

Q: What would it take to shift costs (who pays) for reskilling/ micro-credentials from the ‘student’ to the employer?

  • We’re already starting to see this change via employee focus on learning as a key part of their Employee Value Proposition.
  • Australia stands out amongst a minority group of nations where learning is seen as an expense not an investment in people. The EVP focus should help change that.
  • Also, the role of a ‘lifelong learning account’ that flows through life with the individual not the education provider or employee via tax rebates.
  • Revenue from research and innovation could provide a commercial return high enough to relieve universities from relying on undergraduate fees
  • Additionally, governments need to proactively support opening up the higher education sector to private and overseas investment in R&D, offering financial incentives to companies funding R&D. That way, universities gain access to private equity capital and participate in rich innovation ecosystems.
  • L&D spend data suggests that employers are already more likely to support spend on short-form learning.
  • The challenge (and opportunity) is to utilise the current traction in skilling/reskilling/micro-credentials to build trust with learners, industry, and employers so that the quality of outcomes from each learning interaction, understanding of likely “next steps”, and ease of recognition for credit is as seamless as possible.

Q: What are some of the practical solutions that employers can make for inclusion of diversity?

  • A focus on mentoring, inclusive training and education, leave, experience surveys and hiring practices are coming through as key outputs

Over the following weeks, we will update you on further insights and plans for upcoming Summits, so stay tuned!

If you would like more information or would like to share your thoughts on the Summit, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au

COVID’s Startling Impact on Architectural Professional Practice

ACoP member Association of Consulting Architects (ACA)’s latest Pulse Check survey, its 6th since the pandemic, reveals startling impacts on architectural practices and the wider industry.

Building on the previous five Pulse Checks, this survey helps create longitudinal knowledge about the impact of COVID-19 and the architectural profession’s response; from changing working arrangements, skills shortages, a tight employment market and wellbeing pressures, reflecting a profession that is, on the whole, very busy. The findings are also very topical in relation to the Jobs and Skills Summit. 

At a high level, the key findings provide invaluable insight across a range of current topics. They reinforce concerns in relation to employment conditions, supply chain issues, the increasing costs of building materials and the skills and labour crisis across the industry.

They reveal the increasing cost of doing business, and the mismatch between this and business incomes, which have not risen at the same pace. They point to the impact all of this is having on the mental wellbeing of professionals – exhaustion, fatigue and the ongoing uncertainty of things.

The survey also confirms the extensive changes within architectural workplaces, following from the experiences of the pandemic. Flexibility is now both the norm and the future for two-thirds of responding practices. The pandemic has also been a catalyst for many to rethink professional priorities, business models and how they practice.

These are all issues that have far reaching impacts beyond just the architectural profession. This data has the potential to inform conversations about employment and labour force in relation to the hottest event in town – tomorrow’s Jobs and Skills Summit

ACA’s CEO, Angelina Pillai, who is also ACoP’s head of diversity, culture and inclusion warns that “governments need to respond swiftly to the crippling impact of the rising costs of doing business in Australia today as the findings prove that there are consequences affecting other professional sectors such as project management, human resources, procurement and construction in general, not to mention challenges with local councils, State governments and other consultants”.

For more details of these preliminary findings, head to the ACA website.

The Professional Fight against Conspiracy Theories

The rates of acceptance of fake news, alternative facts and conspiracy theories are at alarmingly high levels. In a study published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology in 2021, 22% of the Americans surveyed agreed that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists and politicians, 30% agreed that the dangers of vaccines are being hidden by the medical establishment, and 43% agreed that there is a ‘deep state’ that operates in secret and without oversight.

The prevalence of such beliefs is a significant problem for professionals and professional organisations, especially given that many of these beliefs are about professionals. So, what can professionals and professional organisations do to fight back against misinformation and trust erosion?

In collaboration with the Future of the Professions Research Group at Charles Sturt University (CSU), we are delighted to announce our next Round Table on 29 September 2022 featuring an expert panel of academics who will take up this practical challenge, as they discuss, dissect and engage in meaningful discourse on the fascinating, yet incredibly factual issues of fake news, misinformation and the erosion of trust.

Introducing our Expert Panel

Professor Stephen Clarke

Steve Clarke is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Social Work and Arts and lead researcher in the Future of the Professions Research Group at Charles Sturt University, and Senior Research Associate of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He works on a broad range of topics in philosophy. Recent publications include Clarke, S. (2020). ‘Huckleberry Finn’s Conscience: Reckoning with the Evasion’, Journal of Ethics, 24 (4), pp. 485-508, Clarke, S., Zohny, H. and Savulescu, J. (eds.) (2021). Rethinking Moral Status. Oxford University Press, and Clarke, S. (forthcoming). ‘Is There a New Conspiracism?’, Social Epistemology, DOI: 10.1080/02691728.2022.2057369.

Professor Stephen Clarke

Dr Suzie Gibson

Dr Suzie Gibson is the Senior Lecturer in English Literature, School of Social Work and Arts at Charles Sturt University. Her research analyses the resonances and differences between texts, disciplines, and writers. Trained in feminist and critical theory, and her publishing covers a variety of textual forms and themes, including traditional and experimental forms of literature and philosophy. She is also interested in the narrative power of conspiracy theory and was a guest speaker at Western Sydney University’s ‘Writing and Society Research Centre’ where she discussed this phenomenon.

Dr Suzie Gibson

M R. X. Dentith

M R. X. Dentith is an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Center for International Philosophy at Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, and a member of the School of Philosophy at Beijing Normal University. They are a philosopher interested in the epistemology of conspiracy theories, fake news, and secrecy. They are the author of The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), the editor of Taking Conspiracy Theories Seriously (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), and is currently putting together a special issue of Social Epistemology focussing on recent, novel philosophical work on conspiracy theory.

M R. X. Dentith

Patrick Stokes

Patrick is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Deakin University, with research interests including personal identity, death, moral psychology, and the thought of 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. His most recent book is Digital Souls (Bloomsbury, 2021) exploring issues of death and remembrance in the digital age. Patrick is also a regular contributor to The Conversation, New Philosopher, and a media commentator and radio documentary producer on philosophical issues.

Patrick Stokes

We would like to thank the Future of the Professions Research Group at Charles Sturt University for their assistance with this Round Table.  Led by Professor Stephen Clarke, the group researches and publishes on the role of the professions in modern society. Focal areas are Practical & Applied Ethics, Environmental & Social Justice as well as Library & Information Sciences.

NAIDOC Week 2022 – How can Professionals Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

Each July, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The theme for 2022 is a call to ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!‘ As the unifying alliance for Australian professions, ACoP calls on all professionals to acknowledge the significance of indigenous culture in our national heritage and consider how we can actively contribute to this year’s theme, by sharing your member organisation’s plans to celebrate NAIDOC Week.

NAIDOC WEEK 2022

Whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism—we must do it together”.

We are calling on each of you, our member organisations to share with us your plans, activities, events, and efforts to celebrate this year’s NAIDOC Week.

As a professional community of peers, with the clear mission of building and maintaining community confidence in all professionals, we have an inherent obligation to extend this commitment to championing change, offering support, and amplifying the voices that are leading the change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the land.

In conjunction with this year’s theme, Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!, and in the spirit of recognising and supporting the great work that each of you are leading, ACoP would be delighted to share your stories through our communications channels and ensure your voice is heard. Together with our member organisations we acknowledge and celebrate each of your efforts as a collective agency of professionals in this country, that aims to go beyond just words, but a signal of meaningful and genuine action.

We look forward to hearing from you, our professional community of leaders, so please send your content to CEO@Professions.org.au

Why Professionalism Matters More than Ever!

We are delighted to announce the publication of an essential white paper on the importance of professionalism which explores how professional associations and professional services contribute and impact our culture, economics, technology and governments.

What is professionalism, how is it faring today and what are the implications for professionals, organisations and institutions as well as our society in general? In a follow-on to his seminal 2010 white paper on Why Professionalism is Still Relevant, George Beaton focuses in his second white paper ‘Why Professionalism Matters more than Ever’ on the key attributes that have always defined and distinguished them: altruism, ethics and trustworthiness.

ACoP and Deakin University join forces to move professional education forward

ACoP in partnership with Deakin University is delighted to announce the endorsement of the Deakin Professional Practice credential in Professional Ethics. A world-first endorsement, this experiential micro-credential enables professionals to attain a globally recognised certification of their expertise and experience in applying principles and practice of professionalism and ethics.

To be assessed for this certification, professionals need only to collate and submit a portfolio aligned to clearly defined criteria, highlighting their understanding and application of professional and ethical conduct. As no study or additional learning is required, most candidates will be able complete their credential in 8-10 hours.

ACoP Member Organisations will have access to a generous discount on the credential fee. After obtaining this world-leading credential, professionals have the opportunity to leverage the credential toward post-graduate qualifications at Deakin University whilst developing their own career pathways.

ACoP National President, Klaus Veil explains, “This ACoP-endorsed Professional Practice credential is assessed by Deakin and for the first time provides a way in which professionals can be formally recognised for ethical behaviour, as professionals, within their professional roles and within the wider community”.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, said that Deakin continued to innovate in education in response to industry needs, prioritising relevance and value. “DeakinCo. continues to address the evolving educational and career needs of professionals. This credential enables companies to certify the skills and knowledge of their staff, leveraging Deakin’s deep expertise in ethics and related fields. The Professional Practice Credential again demonstrates how Deakin is leading the sector in providing flexible learning and qualifications that are highly regarded within a practical, workplace context.”

As the unifying alliance of thought leaders advocating for the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, ACoP’s charter is driven by the very definition that a Profession is “a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards” and as a Professional within the Profession, that they are “generally seen as an indicator of integrity, ethics, trust and expertise” (ACoP, 2003).

Deakin University via its workplace learning division DeakinCo. is a world leader in delivering cutting-edge, real-world, real-time education programs that offer practical, agile workforce professional development and align with the needs of professionals across multiple facets of workplace capabilities to meet the demands current and future needs offering practical, agile workforce professional development.

Collectively, partnering to create this credential signals the convergence of Professionalism and Ethics in a way that provides formal recognition in professional ethics standards at any stage of an individual’s professional career, demonstrating the value, integrity, and trust that professionals uphold to themselves, their organisations and the societies they serve.

To learn more about and enrol in this exciting new certification, visit www.deakinco.com/acop

Professionalisation of the English Language Teaching (ELT) Profession

The social benefits for the ELT community in meeting the challenge of professionalising

With mounting evidence that Australia has ‘outsourced’ its key social responsibilities to quasi markets in education, health, and community care, the impact has left our communities with appalling instances of degradation, such as in aged care. In her keynote address to the National Education Assurance Services (NEAS) 2022 National Conference[1], Ruth Ferraro unpacked the many issues in each of these sectors addressing the ‘certain predictable failures[2].

Dr Ruth Ferraro

Our Head of Professionalism and Ethics, Dr Ruth Ferraro offered a challenge to the ELT community to professionalise and, by understanding the machinery and power of applied Institutional Theory, to claim a place in the ‘system of the professions’.

By examining the 5 Es of Professionalism as put forward by the Professional Standards Councils’ Academic View[3], Ruth offered a number of activities for NEAS to pursue to achieve this professionalisation and thereby deliver on the remit to our English language students including, but not limited to, the international student sector.

Overall, delegates found Ruth’s presentation interesting, professional and thought-provoking.


  • [1] Attended in person by over 250 delegates and over 1,200 online delegates from the English Language Teaching (ELT) Profession
  • [2] Australian University Review Benedict Sheehy RMIT University Regulation by markets and the Bradley Review of Australian higher education
  • [3] https://www.psc.gov.au/what-is-a-profession/academic-view

National Summit ‘Creating Australia 2040 – Education & Employability’

What is the Society we want to be in 2040 and how do we get there?

After three years of disruption and unpredictable devastation, the time has come for us to explore and develop a holistic vision and roadmap of what Australia could be in 2040 – a resilient, fair and prosperous society that embraces the needs of both its peoples and their lands.


However, it seems that none of our wicked problems can be resolved independently of the others.

Bringing together a broad-based coalition of influential thought leaders in a cross-sectoral collaborative partnership, our ‘Creating Australia 2040 – Education & Employability’ National Summit is the first of a series of events that will explore the key issues that require questioning, re-imagining and progressing towards the Society we want to be.

How can we find or create the leaders and professionals who we are relying on to successfully get us to 2040?  Do we need more emphasis on educating young people about collaborative problem solving, democracy and real citizenship?  How can we identify practical, inclusive, evidenced-based steps to address the education and employability challenges of the next two decades?

KAs the unifying alliance of professional organisations we will collaborate with thought leaders to explore these questions and seize the opportunities to create the Society we want to be.

One of the Summits’ main objectives is the development of an integrated ‘Set of Principles’ that embody our collective commitment and responsibility in delivering on the Australia 2040 vision.

Our invitation-only ‘Creating Australia 2040 – Education and Employability‘ National Summit on 4 August 2022 will bring together a broad-based coalition of influential thought leaders to develop a holistic vision and roadmap for a fair, prosperous and enterprising Australia 2040.  Acting purposefully for the common good, we will work collaboratively and consultatively to mould bold and transformative long-term strategies.

The inaugural National Virtual Summit on 4 August 2022 will provide an overarching lens of Education and Employability, intended to focus leaders of education and industry to explore the issues we will face in the next two decades and to develop the education and employability pillars that will lay the foundation for the society we want to be in 2040. 

Full Program Announced!

We are delighted to announce that the program for the Summit has been confirmed, with the opening keynote by distinguished Professor Emeritus Julianne Schultz AM FAHA and our Chief Futurist, Dr Simon Eassom.

Professor Julianne Schultz  AM FAHA
Dr Simon Eassom

Julianne’s opening keynote will explore the ‘Idea of Australia’ challenging our notions of what it means to be Australian and asks timely and urgent questions about our national identity. This will be followed by Simon’s thought-provoking presentation on the future of education and employability, by unpacking what the future of work and the future of learning will mean to professionals.

Download the National Summit’s Program here.

Summit’s Education and Industry Panels

The big issues that vex our progress towards a brighter future are inexorably interrelated: climate action; reconciliation with our First Nations People; sustainable and inclusive economic recovery and growth; educational equity; national health and wellbeing; gender equality and industry reform are just a few of those issues. The identification of these issues as sustainable development goals is not new, nor is our consideration of them. What is new is the confluence, intensity and acceleration of these threats, that makes continuing inaction and fragmentation untenable.

Our panel of education and industry leaders will discuss, debate, dissect and engage in meaningful discourse on all these issues and more.

Further details to come on the Education and Industry panels. But for now, make sure you mark 4 August 2022 in your calendars.

ACoP appoints Chief Futurist

ACoP is delighted to welcome Dr Simon Eassom as our inaugural Chief Futurist for the Professions.

Since 2017, we have been actively working on being the ‘thought leaders in all things professional’, spanning from creating guidelines for national higher education sector on teaching, learning, assessment, placements, and mobility during the pandemic to the appointment of Australia’s first Chief Professionalist in 2021 and our ongoing ‘Australia 2040’ agenda.

At the core of these initiatives is an intrinsic need to capture a stream of forward-looking ideas and visions, enveloped in thought-provoking and future-state scenarios.

ACoP is ideally positioned to provide not only the specific insight into the changes taking place within the professions but also an impartial analysis of the issues facing humanity and the possible directions that resolution of those issues might take. These include implications for the future of work, the future of learning, the future of cities, the future of nationhood and beyond.

Dr Simon Eassom

With that as the backdrop, ACoP is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Simon Eassom as our inaugural Chief Futurist.  In this role, Simon will develop and accelerate ACoP’s presence and value in this area by initiating a series of roundtables and workshops on specific ‘futurology’ scenarios; developing materials and presentations that could be used by ACoP members for their own understanding of the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other challenges facing humanity; and importantly assisting in the advocacy of ACoP as the leading voice in presenting objective assessment of the issues facing the professions, governments and society overall.

As ACoP President Klaus Veil says, “Simon Eassom’s appointment will strengthen our presence inside and outside the professions as an important forward-looking ‘think tank’. Dr Eassom, along with other ACoP appointments such as our Chief Professionalist, will further enhance our value and relevance as the thought leaders on the future of the professions and their professionals”.

Dr Simon Eassom, a research academic for 22 years and former university Head of School, is a prolific public presenter and in-demand speaker for over two decades.  After leaving a highly successful career in academia, in 2005 Simon joined IBM Global Business Services, based in Australia. Over the course of 13 years with the company became one of their key thought-leaders and experts on the impact of technology on our lives. He was one of the original IBM executives working with IBM’s “Watson” artificial intelligence (AI) software and presented at numerous international events on both the nature of AI (and what we really mean by AI) as well as on its potential to change the world for better or worse.  He led the strategy development of IBM’s “Smarter Education” solutions and initiated several of IBM’s major implementations of AI to facilitate learning, teaching and assessment, ultimately enabling fully personalised learning.  His reach also spreads to speaking to audiences on the future of health services, the future of banking, and the future of retail. With his colleagues, he developed IBM’s position statement on the impact of “blockchain” technologies on all industries.  Simon was formerly a Board member of Deakin University and has been a board member of ACoP since 2019.

Simon has a PhD in Philosophical Ethics built on a career-long interest in leadership, justice, fairness, and the relationship between philosophy and psychology. In the 1990s he was heavily involved with colleagues researching the use of sport as a vehicle for enhancing mutual respect in the “truth and reconciliation” process across as Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the Middle East.

Welcome Simon!

Budget 2022 – an Election is Coming

The federal government this week brought down their pre-election budget and the opposition provided a pre-election response. ACoP notes the budget and response in the main were well received with – as always – good parts, bits missing and questions to be answered.

ACoP believes that what was missing from both was a longer-term strategy for Australia.

Peter Strong, the Advocate for ACoP stated “To get best bang for the budget bucks we need expenditure to be part of a coherent plan that confronts the big issues and challenges of our near and medium futures: geopolitical unrest; cyber attacks; health issues; pandemics; the aged-care crisis, climate change; the economic threat to families from rising inflation and interest rates; national and international supply chain issues; re-establishing trust in government processes, and sovereignty.

There was certainly good focus on various parts of these issues, yet an overall strategy was not articulated.  That is what is needed to develop confidence and trust.

Mr Strong added “Politicians know that, globally, Australia is in a very good position regarding economics and pandemic. Therefore, it is important that hubris does not enter the ranks of our political parties. As we have seen with Ukraine, the future is full of unknowns.

However, the skills, knowledge, expertise and ethics of the professions of Australia can add to the capacity of government to make well-researched and sound policies – if they are listened to more often.

ACoP has noted that the one bit of budget that needs to be in place is funding for a federal version of ICAC. Australians want to have more trust in our political processes, in the grant allocation process and in the honesty of elected officials. It was disappointing to see that neither the government or opposition referenced an ICAC.

Now we will have an election in May – ACoP will have more to say as we advance through the election campaign process.

Mr Strong also stated “We need a vision for Australia and a strategy to implement it. Professionals can provide both.

For more information, email CEO@Professions.org.au