The National Skills Policy Collaboration recently released a ten-point plan to tackle Australia’s shortfall in the supply of skilled workers. The Collaboration is an aggregation of major employer and union groups such as the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Australian Industry Group (AI Group), Australian Education Union (AEU), Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF) and Group Training Australia (GTA).
The ten-point plan identifies the education and skills training of the workforce as solutions to the skills crisis. In summary, the plan recommends the:
* Renewed focus on apprenticeship completions;
* Long-term strategy for the improvement of Australia’s investment in education and training;
* Skill infrastructure partnerships between the public and private sectors;
* Raising Year 12 or certificate III completion rates;
* Clear national vision for flexible and responsible vocational education providers, particularly the future of TAFE;
* Review of traineeship programs to ensure the development of a high wage, high value-add and innovative economy.
Esteemed members of the Collaboration have spoken out in support of the ten-point plan.
Chief Executive of the AI Group Heather Ridout said that for the Australian economy to become competitive in the future, Australia must develop a highly skilled and innovative workforce. Thus, she said, “This will only happen if there is a quantum leap forward in the resourcing and commitment by a range of parties to lifting the skills of Australians.”
Australian Council of Trade Unions President Sharan Burrow goes further to say that more industry involvement in education and training will result in actual improvements in meeting high-skilled labor demands. She said, “Australia has a generational opportunity to turn around the skills crisis. Reforms undertaken today will set us up for a new wave of productivity improvement and prosperity.”
Jim Barron, who is the CEO of Group Training Australia, maintains that in addition to the Rudd Government’s call for an education revolution, Australians must also undertake a training revolution. He said, “This ten point plan shows the way and, if implemented, will deliver long term economic and social benefits.”
Jack Dusseldorp of the Dusseldorp Skills Forum thinks that for Australia to remain competitive in the global war for talent, “Benchmarking Australia’s skills performance against the OECD leaders and the best in the Asia-Pacific region will be crucial.”
While a lot needs to be done to address Australia’s skill crisis, the Collaboration recognizes the need for a collective effort among private groups and the Rudd Labor Government to increase the number of Australian skilled workers and the quality of their skills.
The ten point plan can be found at: