The BCA today welcomed the federal government’s announcement of a new skills and education package aimed at lifting the skill levels of mature-aged workers.
BCA CEO Katie Lahey said the package represented a well-targeted response to a number of priority issues affecting both businesses and individual employees.
“In the face of global competition, the skills and capabilities of Australia’s workforce are becoming ever more important to our competitiveness,” Ms Lahey said.
“Yet a significant proportion of existing workers either don’t have some of the basic skills vital for all jobs, or they don’t have the qualifications employers are increasingly seeking for new positions or upgraded jobs.”
Ms Lahey said the opportunity for existing workers to renew and obtain basic skills through to year 12 or the equivalent vocational qualification would be particularly beneficial, as basic literacy and numeracy skills needed lifting.
“These skills are fundamental to ensuring ongoing workplace participation,” she said.
“We also welcome the support for existing mature age workers who take up an apprenticeship or who pursue higher level technical qualifications. These initiatives will directly help workers to enter the better and more rewarding career paths that are made available by higher level qualifications.
“Businesses will benefit from the government’s scheme through the increased skills and capabilities of their employees, and through greater innovation and improved competitiveness in the medium to longer term.
“The decision to provide vouchers to individuals for the purchase of education and training is an important reform. It allows individuals to make the choice about the particular education or training products and also the provider that they want. It will also encourage a greater degree of competition between education and training providers,” she said.
Ms Lahey said the BCA also supported the additional engineering places for Australian universities and the business skills initiative for apprentices.