Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter is delighted to announce that the OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) will participate in its NEXT GENERATION is NOW 2019 STEM Workforce Conference being held in Newcastle in April.

Mr Jonathan Barr, OECD’s Head of Employment and Skills Unit within the Local Employment, Skills, and Social Innovation Division of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions, and Cities (CFE), will travel to the Hunter from the Organisation’s Paris base to deliver the keynote address, NEXT GENERATION: GLOBAL SKILLS TRENDS.

RDA Hunter’s Director of Regional Development, Mr Trevor John said RDA Hunter is very pleased to be hosting Mr Barr at its fourth annual STEM Workforce Conference.

“The OECD is a highly reputable global thought-leader, so its insights into international skills and workforce trends will provide a new and interesting perspective for the Hunter community.” he said.

The NEXT GENERATION is NOW 2019 STEM Workforce Conference is being held on Tuesday 9th April 2019 at Fort Scratchley Function Centre.

The conference is being facilitated by CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen AM and will feature industry and student panel discussions as well as a keynote presentation by University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinksy AO.

RDA Hunter is pleased to be presenting the NEXT GENERATION is NOW 2019 STEM Workforce Conference in partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia, BAE Systems and the Australian Department of Defence.

For more information and to register your attendance visit:



For more information about the Conference contact Kate O’Mara on 0412 303 744

For more information about RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce Initiatives contact Rick Evans on 0434 489 609

ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION is NOW 2019 STEM Workforce Conference


At the 2018 STEM Workforce Conference industry, education, and government engaged in discussion about the next big thing in technology – what it meant for industry and its impact on the future workforce. One of the many takeaway messages from that conference was “we must capitalise on that which will not change”. We all agreed that – although technology is advancing at a rapid rate, it is a constant. It’s not going away and, indeed, will continue to transform the industrial base – and quickly.

The impact of next generation technology has recently come to the fore in the Hunter region with the arrival of the F-35 at RAAF Base Williamtown. The most advanced fighter jet on the planet, the F-35 creates opportunities the likes of which we’ve never seen. It brings an economy of its own and is creating new and exciting jobs, jobs that will employ our children’s children – smart, high value jobs.

The arrival of the jets highlights the fact that Next Generation – which suggests skills and technology of the future – is, in fact, NOW. The technology is already here – and with it comes a complex set of problems requiring a complex set of Next Generation skills, best addressed by a skilled, local, homegrown workforce. The demand for skills is urgent – we need to act now to prepare – to up-skill, re-skill, and train.

So … What are these Next Generation problems? What are Next Generation skills? How do we ensure our workforce across all industry sectors has them? And how do we keep them current?

The NEXT GENERATION IS NOW 2019 STEM Workforce Conference will draw on the knowledge of industry, research and education experts to examine these issues, highlight the Hunter’s demand for skills and gaps in meeting this demand. With assistance from Conference delegates, a common vision for strengthening our local workforce will be developed.

It will be an opportunity for RDA Hunter to gain insights into the future requirements of industry and tailor the next iterations of its STEM skilling initiatives – Mini ME, ME Program and STEMship – accordingly. And, it will provide a forum for collaboration between industry, government and education providers to shape workforce development in the region.




The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. We measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. We analyse and compare data to predict future trends.

Read more about OECD’s Local Economic and Employment Division http://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/local-employment.htm