UNSW launches workplace learning business to fill future skills gaps

UNSW Sydney has officially launched its new workplace learning offering, Mentem by UNSW, providing contextualized educational programs for industry and government organizations to help them address current and future skills shortages.

Mentem from UNSW assesses the needs of an organization and provides learning, training and coaching programs that incorporate formal education from UNSW’s expertise to retrain businesses for the long term.

Labor shortages are expected to be a major focus of the federal government’s upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit, with Australia’s unemployment rate at a low of 3.5 per cent and many industries struggling to find staff.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs says Mentem has been created at a critical juncture.

“Universities play a key role in making sure our workforce has the skills they need. Providing businesses with the tools they need to expand and grow is an important part of Australia’s skills planning architecture,” says Prof. Brungs.

“UNSW’s world-leading research capability gives us deep expertise in the current and future impact of change on various industries. By combining this level of academic rigor with a scalable business environment, we can ensure Australia has a skilled workforce to meet the needs of sectors critical to our nation’s productivity and prosperity.”

Developing skills in a wide range of disciplines

UNSW Business School Dean Professor Chris Styles says UNSW’s 73-year history of world-leading educational experience makes Mentem uniquely placed to deliver skills across a large spectrum of disciplines.

“The government recently signaled its bid for Australia to be powered largely by renewable energy. To do this, we must rapidly increase our renewable energy workforce. UNSW is home to one of the world’s leading solar and renewable energy research schools.

“Being able to harness and repackage UNSW’s vast amount of higher education content into qualification and reskilling products that organizations can use in a way that is contextualised and relevant, allows us to deliver a multidisciplinary approach.

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“Learning programs also aim to develop employees, regardless of their role, to operate effectively in increasingly digital workplaces, as well as provide courses in other critical enterprise skills such as problem solving and decision-making,” says Prof. Styles.

Since its founding in 2021, Mentem has developed and delivered digital literacy, data analytics, and business process modeling programs across government, the nonprofit, and finance sectors.

A recent example involves taking employees from across the Suncorp Group and retraining them to become proficient in business process modeling.

Building a workforce for the future

Suncorp Group EGM People and Culture Strategy, Matt Leslie, says developing this in-house capability reflected Suncorp’s strong commitment to investing in its people and building a workforce fit for the future.

“Retraining our people in this important area of ​​end-to-end business process modeling enables us to better review our service offerings and ultimately improve the experience for our customers,” he says.

Mentem CEO Arvind Sampath says Mentem also recently developed and implemented a pilot digital upskilling program for employees in the NSW Regional Department.

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“The program is a mix of formal and on-the-job learning, including coaching support, and is designed to fit into employees’ day-to-day work. The scalable program was also designed with employees in mind,” he says.

“Another unique feature is our Insights platform, which enables us to take an end-to-end approach to learning. The platform allows us to identify who is best suited to meet evolving business requirements, determine where their training should be focused and then measure learner progress throughout delivery,” says Mr Sampath.

“No two businesses are the same. That’s why Mentem designs contextualized learning experiences that align skills programs with strategic objectives.

“We continue to train a little differently as well. Our approach is to engage an organization’s subject matter experts to truly empower peer learning. This enables businesses to become a self-sustaining learning environment where employees continuously grow together.”

Mr Sampath says credentialing can be secured and training is a possible pathway to further university studies.

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