BCA Welcomes Joint Statement on Skills Priorities

16 April 2008

The Business Council of Australia has expressed support for the joint statement ‘Facing up to Australia’s Skills Challenge’ released by the Australian Industry Group, the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Group Training Australia and the Australian Education Union.

Chairman of the BCA Task Force on Education, Skills and Innovation, Hutch Ranck, said the statement identifies key priorities for business, industry and the wider community in relation to skills and training.

Mr Ranck said the difficulty in finding people with relevant skills continues to be a key concern for business.

“This is compounded by the fact that when we look ahead over the next decade and beyond, Australia has an ageing population and its businesses compete in dynamic global markets.

“It is vital that skills policies are based on the actual and emerging requirements of employers in order to ensure that, as a nation, we have the knowledge and skills necessary to remain economically competitive.

“In doing so, such policies will equip individuals with the skills that will enable them to seek and obtain ongoing employment, including through the capacity to adapt to changing workplace environments. Vocational education and training should also be providing individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to enjoy effective and rewarding careers.

“The BCA has also welcomed the key directions identified by the federal government in relation to skills.

“The establishment of Skills Australia will bring a national perspective to advice on matching current and future skills requirements in Australia to the allocation of new training places.

“At the same time, we need to be encouraging young people into vocational educational and training pathways while they are still at school. The Trades Training Centres will make an important contribution to this objective,” Mr Ranck said.

“Importantly, as the ‘Facing up to Australia’s Skills Challenge’ states, the future Australian workforce will require a much higher proportion of the workforce to have recognised and relevant skills and for these to be updated more frequently than in the past.

“We therefore need to aim to make sure all young Australians are provided with a high-quality school education, and that the vocational education and training system is responsive and adapts to meet current and emerging skills demands in the economy.

“The BCA also welcomes the call for a greater level of flexibility in the delivery of vocational education and training, including improved workplace delivery using the best available information and communications technology.

“We see an important future role for both TAFE and private training providers in working with industry to further improve flexibility.

“In addition, business is calling for policies to improve the quality of teaching, including professional development opportunities for teachers and leaders within vocational education and training.

“The BCA looks forward to contributing to the further development of reform priorities for Australia’s training system, which have the potential to make a vital contribution to both addressing the skills needs of business and providing new and rewarding opportunities for both students and mature-age workers alike” Mr Ranck said.



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