Training Reforms Necessary to Meet Future Demand for Skills

The Business Council of Australia said that the Skills Australia report released yesterday, Skills for Prosperity: A Roadmap for Vocational Education and Training, provides a detailed and timely plan for the reform of the vocational education and training system that is worthy of careful consideration.

Chief Executive of the BCA, Jennifer Westacott, said that reforms to the training system were important to meet the skills requirements of business and to support national productivity and competitiveness.

Ms Westacott said that the BCA’s 2011–12 Budget Submission identified Australia’s emerging and future skills requirements as one of the most important policy challenges facing the nation.

“Business has identified the need for a demand-driven training and workforce development system that responds to demand from enterprises. The recommendation of Skills Australia for an individual and enterprise demand-led model of public funding is consistent with the BCA’s priorities,” Ms Westacott said.

“The BCA has also emphasised the importance of strengthening the quality and relevance of training outcomes. Again, Skills Australia has identified the need to move from a focus on inputs, to encouraging and rewarding outcomes, including the completion of training qualifications.

“In addition, business requires more flexible training in order to support the different requirements of enterprises and industries and to ensure that skills development is responsive to emerging needs and to workforce mobility.

“The recent announcement by the federal government that it will provide the opportunity for experienced workers to gain a full trade apprenticeship qualification in 18 months will significantly improve the flexibility of the current pathway for mature-age apprentices within the resources sector. It will be important that consideration is given to extending these arrangements to other industries.

“A skills system that is more responsive to demand, and which offers high-quality and flexible training, would underpin future improvements in the nation’s productivity and competitiveness”, Ms Westacott said.