Ahead of the coming federal election, Ai Group is releasing a series of policy papers on issues of importance to business and the community, including skills, education and training priorities.
“Education and training plays a critical role in the economy and the broader community both in addressing workforce skill needs and improving social inclusion,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox says. “The transformation of our economy is leading to skill mismatches and shortages due to the new tasks and jobs that are being created. Better skills alignment requires more regular skills forecasting to identify specific skills in demand.
“Critical shortages exist for Australia’s STEM workforce. Ai Group calls for measures to grow and strengthen our STEM-qualified workforce through a national STEM skills strategy led by government and industry. Ai Group is helping to address this gap through its Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeships Program, which provides a key platform for the delivery of workforce skills through an employment-based learning program.”
He says that businesses require more support for workforce planning, and industry requires access to programs that are flexible in length and mode in both the VET and higher education sectors.
“With literacy and numeracy levels a constraint on business effectiveness, Ai Group urges the funding, development and promotion of a national workforce language, literacy and numeracy strategy and program, developed in partnership with industry. The program must incorporate the development of digital literacy skills.
“Australia’s youth unemployment rate is concerningly high. Increased investment is needed in transition programs that equip individual young people with the right skills to enable them to enjoy greater opportunities and to more fully participate in the workforce and the community.
“Australian industry needs its apprenticeship system to grow. A number of measures are needed for it to sufficiently meet industry’s needs, including a national body to oversee the system.”
Ai Group has also called for a more coherent and connected tertiary education sector and recently released a paper Realising Potential: solving Australia’s tertiary education challenge.