Four popular training courses facing critical AI risk

Four work training courses in high demand have been identified as being at the greatest risk of disruption from artificial intelligence technology in an analysis one government agency says requires urgent action.

The vocational training courses in marketing and finance were named in research from Mandala Partners released on Tuesday which also identified another 27 courses as being a "high priority". 

The findings come as the Senate holds an inquiry into the adoption of AI technology and months after the formation of a national Artificial Intelligence Expert Group tasked with creating rules for risky AI use. 

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Generative AI is already having "a huge influence" on the workplace, Tom McMahon says.

Mandala Partners director Tom McMahon said the study expanded on the group's previous research and analysed training courses that were both at high risk from AI disruption and in the greatest demand.

"Our industries are at the vanguard of innovation, and generative AI is already (having) a huge influence on the workplace," he said. 

"However, it is still early days and we need to better grasp what this means for the skills required."

The Building an AI-Empowered Workforce: Priority Framework study identified the training courses that were a critical priority as the diploma and advanced diploma of marketing and communication, advanced diploma of conveyancing, and the diploma of insurance broking. 

All four were judged to have "high degrees of AI exposure" even though they were identified as government priorities and were in high demand from employers. 

The research was prepared for the government-funded body Future Skills Organisation which negotiates with industry groups and training providers. 

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Research will help training providers understand how and when to respond to generative AI.

Chief executive Patrick Kidd said ranking vocational education courses was vital to help providers establish which qualifications needed urgent updates.

"We are keen to understand how the training system needs to respond to the impact of generative AI and when," he said.

"This report helps to identify which areas we should look at first."

Generative AI technology is expected to have a substantial impact on business, with research from the Tech Council and Microsoft estimating it could add as much as $115 billion a year to Australia's economy by 2030. 

But concerns about the technology's impact on existing jobs have been raised at a Senate inquiry into Adopting Artificial Intelligence, and the government has appointed an expert advisory group to consider mandatory guidelines for its high-risk use. 

The federal budget committed $39.9 million across five years to address AI concerns including funding for the advisory group, as well as the National AI Centre and policies across government agencies. 

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