Oh great, another skills passport

    I’ve spent the last 12 years working in the ecosystem around Open Badges, which provides an alternative accreditation system. It didn’t come out of thin air, and before this there was plenty of work around e-portfolios. Next up we’ve got Verifiable Credentials which allow for lots of things, including endorsement.

    Frustratingly, over the past couple of decades, people several steps removed from actual jobs markets and education systems decide to weigh in. Inevitably, they use the metaphor closest to hand, which tends to be a ‘passport’.

    This not only is the wrong metaphor, but it diverts money and attention from fixing some of the real issues in the system. I’d suggest that these are at least threefold:

    1. Taxonomic straightjackets — we don't tend to recognise everything that makes for a valuable employee or colleague. There are behaviours that are valuable, as well esoteric knowledge and skills that don't fit into pre-defined taxonomies.
    2. Hiring is broken — this deserves a whole other blog post, but current systems tend to automate the very things that need a human touch. Hence, applicants spend an inordinate amount of time searching for and applying for jobs, while algorithms reject people who would be a perfectly good fit.
    3. References are outdated — one organisation I used to work for stopped taking references because a) in most jurisdictions, it's against the law to make negative comments, and b) they're generally unreliable. Yet the whole system is predicated on them. Endorsements and recommendations based on network relationships are much more valuable.
    I could go on, and probably will over at my personal blog. Or perhaps the Australian government can give me $9.1 million to point them in the right direction.
    The passport system is intended to help workers advertise their full range of qualifications, micro-credentials, prior learning, workplace experience and general capabilities.

    Businesses, unions, tertiary institutions and students are among those the federal government says will be consulted about the initiative.

    Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the goal was to make it easier for employers to find highly-qualified staff and for workers to have their qualifications recognised.

    “We want to make it easier for more workers in more industries to adapt and adopt new technology and to grab the opportunities on offer in the defining decade ahead of us,” Chalmers said.

    Source: National Skills Passport: Government aims to connect workers and employers | SBS News