“The Productivity Commission five-year review is a wake-up call,” James Pearson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said today.
“The spotlight on education and health as key drivers of prosperity and benefits to all Australians is timely.
“The Commission says vocational training is in ‘disarray’. We agree. Investment by all governments is well down and the apprenticeship system is in crisis. Apprenticeship numbers have collapsed from 500,000 to 275,000 in the last five years. These are lost jobs and lost opportunities for young people and our industries.
“We urgently need a national system. Currently, apprenticeship skills, qualifications and timeframes vary from state to state and territory to territory and businesses have to deal with eight different jurisdictions. This is costly, time consuming and very frustrating.
“We need a national campaign to promote apprenticeships to young people as an exciting path into a job and career.
“The Australian Chamber endorses the Commission’s call for a ‘joint reform agenda’ by all jurisdictions in areas such as education, health and energy policy. To regain our international competitiveness as a nation and secure the jobs of today and tomorrow for our people, we need to act in a nationally coordinated way.
“The Commission notes that 30% of Year 7 to 10 teachers in information technology have ‘no real qualifications in this field’. This must be addressed. We must build skills for the jobs of the future.
“The Australian Chamber welcomes the Commission’s call for a ‘new policy model’. There are many areas that are not working. These must be addressed urgently before Australia is left behind.”