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Unlocking the Future of Work: Highlights from ICMS’ First Annual Employability Symposium  

Unlocking the Future of Work: Highlights from ICMS’ First Annual Employability Symposium  

September 17, 2023

International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) hosted an inaugural Employability Symposium at the prestigious Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park on 13 September.

Prominent HR industry leaders, faculty and academic experts, and visionary market innovators were bought together at this pioneering event for a day of exploration and insights into the ever-evolving landscape of employability.

With a focus on the future of work, strategies for fostering employability in service industries, and the challenges faced in attracting talent, the symposium promised a rich exchange of ideas and expertise.

The symposium acknowledges the growing importance of stakeholder engagement and collaboration in shaping the future of education. This proactive involvement ensures that education evolves in lockstep with the ever-changing needs of the working world, making it more dynamic and responsive to the fast-paced transformations in the world of work. These critical themes will remain at the forefront of discussions, reflecting a commitment to embedding them in the public space to drive meaningful progress in education and workforce development.

Key Symposium Highlights

The symposium was a hub of knowledge exchange, offering attendees valuable insights and perspectives on the future of work and employability.

Some of the key highlights included:

  1. Exploring the Future of Employability

The event provided a platform for discussions on the rapidly changing landscape of employability, particularly in the post-Covid Australian workplace.

From the demand for sustainable ‘soft skills’ to emerging technologies and evolving industry demands, participants gained a deep understanding of what the future holds for the workforce.

  1. Strategies for Fostering Employability in Service Industries

In a world where service industries are integral to the global economy, the symposium explored strategies to enhance employability in this sector. Experts shared their views on nurturing the skills and talents required for success in service-oriented roles.

  1. Addressing Challenges in Employability

One of the key challenges discussed was the attraction of Gen Z talent to service industries. The symposium also tackled topics such as resilience and adaptability, which are crucial skills in the contemporary job market.

  1. Networking and Collaboration

The symposium provided a unique opportunity for attendees to network with industry thought leaders, academics, and professionals. These interactions fostered collaborative efforts to address the employability challenges of today and tomorrow.

Thought-Leaders: Featured Speakers

The symposium boasted an impressive line-up of featured speakers, each offering their unique insights into employability:

* Dr Prashan Karunaratne (PhD): As the Course Director for the Bachelor of Commerce program at Macquarie University, Dr Karunaratne’s award-winning contributions to the business events sector have been instrumental in advocating for government support. Dr Karuthanratne presented on Employability and Today’s Graduates – Fostering effective Workplaces and Future Leaders. Read more

* Oscar Battram from Lantern.AI spoke about Future Employee Upskilling Tools – Mobile Learning and Artificial intelligence. Read more

* Jolanda Rotteveel: A Future of Work consultant and People & Culture professional, Jolanda’s expertise in employee experience, technology solutions, talent strategies, and cultural enhancement is driving transformative outcomes in the workplace. Ms Rotteveel presented on The Future of Work and Gen Z. Read more

* Dr Richard Robinson (PhD): An Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, Dr Robinson’s advisory roles for professional bodies, industry organisations, and government entities have solidified his position as an influential expert in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Dr Robinson presented on Encouraging Careers in Jobs Where the perception of Them is Poor.

* Dr Stuart Wiggins (PhD): Dr Wiggins is the ICMS Registrar and Pro Vice Chancellor (Employability). His expertise in essential capacities required for entry-level employment within the hotel industry is a testament to his commitment to advancing employability. Dr Wiggins spoke on Employability and Entry Level Skills Gaps Research.

* Nicholas Robert from Learning Vault presented on Demonstrating Evidence of Employability – Badging and Digital Credentials in 2024 and Beyond.

* Dr Trevor Clark: With 35 years of experience in sport and leadership, Dr Clark, ICMS Dean (Undergraduate), brings a unique perspective to ICMS. His expertise in high-performance environments is invaluable in shaping the future of work. Dr Clarke spoke on Resilience and Capability Development.

Panel Discussions

Employability Symposium Panel on Fostering Employability

One of the highlights of the symposium was the engaging panel discussion on Future Industry/Education Partnerships, Skills Gaps, and Emerging Needs.

This thought-provoking session brought together a diverse group of panellists, including Baron Wills from Salesforce, Scott Brown representing Seek, Andrew Tatrai of the ACESGroup, and Dr Betul Sekendiz from the International Sport College Australia (ISCA).

Their collective expertise and insights illuminated the critical intersection between industry and education, shedding light on the evolving skills landscape and the emerging needs of the workforce. Read more

Employability in the Service Industries

Another engaging panel discussion at the symposium focused on Fostering Employability in the Service Industries.

This insightful session brought together a panel of distinguished experts, including Sylvia Dunn from Jobs and Skills Australia, Fiona Pereira representing the Marriott International Hotels, and Jody Masina from Goodman Fielder.

Together, these accomplished professionals delved into strategies and approaches aimed at enhancing employability within the service industries. Their collective expertise illuminated the pathways to nurturing the skills and talents required for success in these vital sectors, offering valuable insights for both practitioners and academics in attendance.

Gen Z panel at Employability Symposium

The final panel of the day, Creating Cultures that Gen Z Want to Be Part Of, offered a dynamic exploration of engaging Generation Z in the workplace.

The diverse panel featured Elizabeth Picone from Deputy, Vernon Cheung of Sports Management Australia, Stuart Martin from the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, and Ben Hancock, an ICMS student.

They provided insights into fostering workplace environments that resonate with Gen Z’s preferences and expectations.

Attendees gained valuable perspectives on the importance of technology, flexibility, inclusivity, and innovation in crafting workplace cultures that attract and retain the talents of the next generation, setting the stage for a more engaged and successful workforce in the future. Read more


Dr Wiggins shared the following reflections on the inaugural ICMS Employability Symposium:

“The power of these collaborative conversations lead us to reflect with great excitement on what a career 2024+ looks like. We greatly appreciate the key speakers and attendees for sharing the journey with us as we continue to champion industry-led learning, and work together to nurture the students and industries we love,” he said.

“I am very lucky to have a number of like-minded colleagues who are as passionate as I am about employability, about industry relationships and the creation of opportunities for our students. Those colleagues are the ones that turned my seed of an idea into the event that became a reality.”

Among others, Dr Wiggins thanked Nicole Venter, Janene Wardrop, Natalie Harrison and the ICMS professional placement team for helping conceive and execute the event.

Thanks were also offered to the ICMS Marketing and Recruitment teams, and to Fiona Pereira and the Marriott International team for hosting the event.

ICMS is Championing Employability

As an industry-focused higher education institution, ICMS champions employability and is swiftly becoming a leader in this field.

For example, ICMS was one of five finalists, and the only private provider in Australia, selected in the Employability category of the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards 2023. Read more here.

ICMS’ First Annual Employability Symposium was a resounding success, offering a window into the future of work and employability.

With a distinguished lineup of speakers and thought-provoking discussions, attendees left with valuable insights and a deeper understanding of the evolving employment landscape.

For more information about ICMS, click here.


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