Focus on skills welcome but holistic approach must be taken

06 Dec 2021 |

A commitment from the Federal Opposition to deliver an expansion of Vocational Education and Training and higher education will be critical in addressing acute skills shortages and drive productivity in the labour force.

“The policies announced by the Federal Opposition over the weekend are a positive step towards developing the workforce of the future,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Providing free TAFE courses and expanding university places are practical investments that will increase the number of trained workers who are available for skilled jobs. Increasing long-term funding in education is essential to creating a skilled workforce for a modern economy and increasing workplace productivity.

“Businesses right across the country are facing the worst skills shortage in more than two decades, which are only getting worse by the day.  This commitment is a first step in growing our country’s skilled labour force and provides a pipeline of trained workers to meet future demand.

“While government-owned TAFE colleges play an important role, we urge the Federal Opposition to similarly support quality training delivered by both private and public education providers.  It is only through choice that students and employers not only have access to the very best providers but also the one that most suits them.

“Further emphasis on apprenticeships is also needed from the Federal Opposition.  We acknowledge the commitment for apprentices in new energy jobs but there are other sectors which also urgently need apprentices.

“The Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements program has been successful in reversing the fall in apprentice and trainee numbers.  A commitment to continue the program at an effective level will give businesses greater confidence to take on new hires and grow Australia’s workforce.

“With our economic recovery contingent on enhancing workforce productivity, investment in education and training should grow the skilled workforce through a more holistic approach which recognises the benefits of private providers and includes more ambitious targets for apprenticeship numbers.

Jack Quail

Media Adviser

P  |  0498 181 207

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