The Australian Computer Society (ACS) and 36 other organisations will help the NSW government address the state’s IT skills crisis which is projected to reach a shortfall of 85,000 tech workers by 2030.

The NSW Digital Skills and Workforce Compact 2023-30, announced on Wednesday, has six pillars: changing how people think about digital careers; plugging leaks in training; driving diversity in the workforce; helping people move into digital training and jobs; making training more responsive to industry’s needs; and using government levers to increase digital job growth.

The efforts to boost NSW’s tech skills starts with an action plan that runs until 2025 and has an initial set of projects to help sell tech skills, better understand the workforce, and encourage greater diversity.

ACS Chief Growth Officer Siobhan Casey said the action plan “lays out a great roadmap towards addressing the state’s critical IT skills shortage”.

“At ACS, we’re excited to be working the NSW Government, TAFE and other key stakeholders in helping redefine perceptions of technology careers, boosting the sector’s diversity and helping build IT education skills,” she said.

“This initiative from the NSW Government recognises the importance of every citizen having access to the digital skills and knowledge essential for the modern economy.”

ACS is listed as a contributing partner for five of the eight projects and sub-projects in the action plan.

The NSW government also highlighted the success of the ACS ICT Educators program which it attributed to ACS ensuring teacher’s needs always remained the top priority.

ACS joins fellow associations the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Tech Council of Australia in signing the compact, along with local corporations like Telstra, Woolworths, the big four banks, tech giants Microsoft and Salesforce, and local universities.

NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan, said the agreement across the tech and education sector will help “proactively tackle the looming digital skills shortage”.

“This partnership is a testament to our commitment to shaping a digitally empowered future for NSW and together, we're laying the foundation for a resilient and inclusive digital workforce for the future,” he said.

“The NSW Digital Compact represents a significant opportunity for Government to work with industry to change people’s idea of ‘tech,’ expanding the inclusivity of the sector.

“We're not just bridging the skills gap; we're building pathways for thousands of students, parents, and advisors to explore and embrace tech careers.”

Earlier this month, ACS warned the tech sector was already in a skills crisis that was only going to be exacerbated by the rise of artificial intelligence tools.