As the world changes and the job market faces digital disruption and demographic shifts, the requirements for skills and employment changes too. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) system will have to undergo a serious transformation in order to be kept current enough to deliver the training that is needed.
A recent survey conducted by Ai Group found that 75% of employers were experiencing difficulties in finding suitably qualified or skilled workers, with the most affected employers being technicians and trades workers.
The amount of work in the future requiring public investment across transport and social infrastructure will create pressure to ensure workers from the local region are targeted for employment and skill development opportunities. This infrastructure work is necessary, but will prove to be difficult to complete due the skills needed being the same skills required in other parts of the economy, like in the mining sector.
In June this year, the quantity of workers in manufacturing who were aged 65 and above was at 38,600. This figure has doubled since 2009. With this group - who represent 4.2% of the workforce - so close to retirement, it is a concern that there will not be enough skilled workers to replace them.
The amount of people undertaking apprenticeships and traineeships is telling. There were 259,385 apprentices and trainees enrolled in training during 2018. This was the lowest number enrolled over the last decade and is a huge difference to the high of 446,000 who were enrolled in 2012.
It is hoped that the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders will discuss an urgent reform for Australia’s training system at the COAG meeting being held in Cairns this week.