Ensuring that graduates are prepared for Australia’s emerging industries is one of the key challenges for a committee set up to help reform the nation’s vocational training sector, says AAMC Chair John Pollaers.
Mr Pollaers, in his role as chair of The Australian Industry and Skills Committee, this month told the 2015 National VET Conference that there were a host of challenges facing industry, such as:
- Training not keeping up with emerging industries and technologies
- Some sectors experiencing a constant ‘churn’ of changes to training packages
- Critical changes taking too long to identify, develop and implement
- Inadequate industry representation for new growth areas
- Employers finding that graduates often don’t have the skills to meet industry needs.
Mr Pollaers said Australia was also slipping behind in overall competitiveness internationally.
“It is vital that we take action now to ensure that Australia’s economy and industries have both the quality and quantity of skills in new entrants to the workforce, as well as through upskilling existing workers to support a future for industry to meet productivity and growth targets,” he told the conference.
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee, established last year, is part of the Australian government’s agenda to reform the vocational education and training sector, and comprises 12 members who are industry leaders.
Mr Pollaers said the committee’s achievements to date had included the approval of seven vocational training packages. The committee has also requested a review to decommission nearly 100 qualifications from nine Enterprise Training Packages that don’t appear to be in use.
It has also consulted widely with Industry Growth Centre chairs, State Government Ministers and other key stakeholders, Mr Pollaers said.
Australia has a strong and respected VET system, but changes to directly involve industry in decisions around training would help lead to an increase in productivity, business growth and jobs, said Mr Pollaers.
“We need to make sure that the skills we are imparting to our learners, whether they are new entrants to the workforce or existing workers, are the ones that industry is seeking when they offer employment.
“I believe we can achieve this by ensuring training package qualifications are consistently well targeted to industry expectations and needs.”
More information on the committee can be viewed here.