The Australian Government’s focus on full employment in its recent ‘White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities’ is a good thing.
However, meeting this target means employers and employees need to exercise all available workplace flexibilities to achieve these aims.
A greater emphasis on foundation skills in schools and training programs will add to Australia’s skills capability and improve workplace productivity, enabling greater participation by those who struggle to access employment that suits their needs.
I support the need to raise resources and funding for training providers and urge government to ensure private training providers, along with TAFE institutes, can access the same funding to deliver the same training.
Industry registered training organisations, who form a key conduit between industry, training and employment, also need particular focus.
Quality training is essential for the automotive industry, which faces critical skills shortages that impact consumers.
Linking VET qualifications with higher education pathways is also a good move.
The Federal Government should acknowledge the auto industry is in a steep transition curve, with entire sectors reskilling to meet the needs of the digital world and environmental targets.
Mechanics today have to be mechanical and digital technicians.
Working on new vehicles requires electronic diagnosis and computer analytics, the same as someone working on a wind turbine or a complex computerised system.
Care needs to be taken to ensure trade aspirants leaving school will not jump to higher-level apprenticeships at the expense of the traditional trades or we’ll all miss out.
Words: VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 6 October 2023.