While Australia seems to be falling behind in the skills race for a new economy, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a Skills India Initiative to provide 400 million people with human resources skills. India aims to be the world human resources capital by 2022.
I travelled to India several years ago before Modi was elected and India was powering ahead as Australia was slowing. I met scientists, doctors, teachers, managers and members of a prosperous well educated Indian middle class. The people I met were excited about learning and the future of India.
In contrast over the past two years in Australia the leadership is not there and the breaks are on in learning and skills development. There actually has not been the political will for skills development and delivery on education reform for a few years and the necessary investment has not occurred.
In addition, the opportunities to move to a greener economy in Australia to create prosperity with green jobs have been squandered. The tardiness in the reform agenda means Australia is slipping back in comparison to other developed economies. The OECD reported in July 2015 that Australia is no longer the best performer in the OECD with the harmonised unemployment rate of 6.2%. From this relatively poor performance result it would seem obvious that Australia needs to rebalance the economy with more attention to social, cultural and environmental issues for prosperity.
I believe that transformation is required largely through more green jobs and entrepreneurs in areas like high value eco-tourism, indigenous cultural enterprises, health, wellbeing, educational services, public transport and high speed rail, renewable and clean energy, organic farming and participation in the digital economy.
It is not the intention to get into greening skills and job profiles but clearly there has been significant work in that area occurring with adaption, mitigation and eco-innovation. There will be significant work required in training and skills development which is an opportunity for prosperity in itself.
It would be nice to have a Modi leading the way with ambitious targets though the funding is not on the table in India and it seems it will be very much a partnership with the private sector. The difference is that at least there is some hope provided with the Modi agenda unlike the leadership provided by the Abbott federal government in Australia.
Speaker and writer Meg Wheatley says whatever the problem community is the answer and we need to expect leadership of the change to come from anywhere. As the Government is not leading the community is leading a government caught up in the interest groups of an old economy. I believe there is definitely hope and leaders will emerge for our own Skills Australia Initiative.

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