The Future Skills Organisation published a report entitled “Impact of generative AI on skills in the workplace” in December last. It argues that “Generative AI [GAI] could usher in new business models, shift labour markets as certain tasks become automated, augmented or adapted, and lead to societal shifts as it changes the way we create, consume, and interact with content.”
Of course, AI of all persuasions is an important issue that needs to be thought through across the VET sector and particularly by VET providers and their staff. This makes AI a topic we are likely to emphasise in our newsletter items throughout 2024.
What the report suggests
In summary, the report suggests that occupations with more cognitive and less physical skills that have higher required skill levels are more likely to be impacted as generative AI systems are implemented. Thus, the primary impact on the training system will be at the university level as occupations that generally require university qualifications typically have greater exposure to generative AI.
In terms of the VET system, the report points out that, of the three training packages within finance, technology and business, the greatest exposure to GAI was faced in the Financial Services and Business Services training packages followed by ICT.
“This is due to the presence of some occupations in ICT which require a combination of more physical skills with cognitive skills. However, the exposure in many qualifications in the ICT training package was still found to be above average.”
The body of the report goes into a fair bit more detail on the affected packages and qualifications.
In VET, higher level qualifications – say those at Diploma level and above – are more likely to face disruption. It’s also suggested that, while occupations in skill level 3, 4 and 5 which require Certificate 4s and below are likely to face less exposure, there are still some occupations in those categories with high exposure. This exposure might, most likely, take the form of automation where “tasks that AI systems can manage entirely on their own will be automated, increasing efficiency and eliminating routine effort.”
For higher level work, however, AI’s effect is most likely to be to involve augmentation and adaptation. Augmentation is where “there is a synergy where AI enhances human abilities,
allowing for collaborative work that harnesses the strengths of both AI and human judgment. Thus,
“In these tasks the AI will act as a ‘co-pilot’ for human tasks where a back and forth will exist between model and human capability.”
“Evidence of this impact is already evident in tasks associated with writing, translation, research and software development.”
Chat GPT comes to mind here.
In relation to adaptation, the report suggests that “specific tasks [will] adapt to incorporate
AI-driven insights or actions, requiring humans to interpret, validate, or combine these
outputs.” This means that “in adapted tasks humans are more likely to play a QA role, checking and correcting work performed by the model.” “Evidence of this can be seen in
tasks such as classification and editing AI generated text.”
Want to learn more? Why not get prepared with Leon Furze and explore all that Generative AI has to offer, with its transformative impact on the educational landscape in one of several VDC’s upcoming NEW webinars, Introduction to Generative AI