COAG Call to action on skills

The Australian Chamber is calling on the country’s political leaders to agree to reform our vital Vocation Education and Training (VET) system, to deliver the skills that Australian jobseekers and businesses need, at tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Cairns.

Prime Minister Morrison has put vocational training back on the agenda following the recent Joyce review of VET that he announced to ACCI’s members late last year.

It comes amid evidence that, despite significant funding growth in all other sectors within education, the amount of funding nationally for VET and the number of government funded VET students has declined over recent years.

Australian Chamber CEO James Pearson said it was important to improve confidence in the system.

“We know how fraught discussions about VET reform have been, and recognise that COAG has attempted on a number of occasions to consider changes that will make a real difference to the support provided to students and industry Now is the time for decisions to be made.”

“Industry stands ready to work with all governments, and we know that the Prime Minister is committed to positive change.

“We have worked closely with Ministers and advisers, and government officials, in the lead up to, and after, the Prime Minister’s announcement of the VET review to our members last November. Our network of state and territory chambers of commerce – the peak business bodies in each COAG jurisdiction – and industry associations is well placed to work with all governments on reforming VET.”

“Given the urgent need to make long lasting positive improvements in VET, we urge COAG to focus first on the end goal. This is likely to be a more fruitful discussion than the more difficult one about who pays for what and what changes are needed to get there.”

The Joyce Review has repeated our call for governments, education and training providers and industry to agree on a shared vision for VET. Successful reform of VET would include:

  • Meeting the labour market skill needs in occupations that rely on vocational training
  • A return to growth in the number of government funded VET students
  • Real funding increases for vocational training in all jurisdictions
  • Improved student employment outcomes
  • Industry more strongly embedded in the advisory and governance arrangements at all levels of the VET system
  • Valuing equally VET and Higher Education and promoting jobs that require VET qualifications to students and parents as good career options
  • Increased support for apprenticeships and traineeships to address skill needs and youth unemployment

“The path to achieving these objectives is challenging; we call on COAG to take the lead from the Prime Minister and move beyond the cost and blame shifting to restore certainty and growth to VET,” Mr Pearson said.

“VET not only prepares young people for work, but also ensures Australia has the skilled workers required to build the infrastructure so badly needed in our regions and cities.

“With more than a year before the next State Election, political leaders have the clear air needed to be decisive. Australia cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by to make meaningful change to vocational training.”

The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy, in every corner of Australia. Our Small Business is a Big Deal campaign gives voice to what small businesses need from the federal government, and our Getting on with Business recommends ways to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Improvements to TAFE top of COAG agenda

Improving the nation’s vocational system is at the top of the agenda at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Far North Queensland. The nation’s leaders were met by a group of protestors on Friday as they came together for the first time since the federal election in May. The leaders are expected to consider the recommendations of a recent review that identified a spate of challenges in the education and training sector. The Australian Industry group called for reforms to ensure there were enough skilled Australians to support the government’s $100 billion infrastructure pipeline. The group also raised concerns about a growing skills shortage and a struggling training system. Image: News Corp Australia

SOURCEAAP:https://www.theaustralian.com.au/video/id-5348771529001-6070193432001/improvements-to-tafe-top-of-coag-agenda

Leaders act to counter skills shortage

PM Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders hold a formal COAG meeting in Cairns on Friday.PM Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders hold a formal COAG meeting in Cairns on Friday.Image

Australians seeking to learn or renew their skills and businesses looking for qualified employees will be at the centre of an overhauled vocational education system.

The nation’s leaders have agreed to pull together to make sure the vocational education and training system is working as it needs to in the face of a growing skills shortage.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said ensuring Australians were trained for the jobs of a modern economy was one of the biggest challenges the country faced.

“We all want students, whatever age they are, they could be 21, they could be 61 and going through a career change … to have confidence that that system is going to help them with their future intentions and their future careers,” he told reporters after the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Cairns on Friday.

The system needed to be more agile and less bureaucratic.

The “jobs of the future” weren’t just in technology, Mr Morrison said, but increasingly in human services areas such as aged or disability care.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said training more tradies was vital to politicians seeking to build the infrastructure they had all been elected to deliver.

“We have to change the way TAFE and vocational education, non-university pathways are viewed,” he said.

“This is a first-class option, not anything less than that.”

His NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian said that was a point on which all the leaders agreed.

She has called for universities and vocational education to be treated as a single sector, something the Business Council of Australia has also been pushing for over several years.

The COAG communique didn’t go that far, but Ms Berejiklian was happy nonetheless.

Mr Morrison said parents should be confident about their child’s future if they chose to pursue a trade or a skills-based education.

“It is not second prize,” he said.

The federal government funded a National Skills Commission in its April budget to better identify and plan for skills shortages and work with industry to design training courses, but it is yet to be established.

A new COAG Skills Council will present leaders with a reform roadmap for the sector in early 2020.

The leaders also agreed to ask their environment ministers to set a deadline for Australia to stop sending its waste overseas.

The country exported 4.3 million tonnes of waste in 2018 at a cost of $2.8 billion.

They agreed to the fourth national action plan on reducing domestic violence, for more cooperation between the commonwealth and states on how to spend infrastructure money, and to make mental health and reducing suicide a national priority.

However, a deal on permanently funding free preschool for Australia’s four-year-olds was pushed off until early 2020.

SOURCEAAP:https://7news.com.au/politics/morrison-urges-states-to-collaborate-c-390366

Ai Group urges COAG to genuinely tackle training system reform

Ai Group has urged the Prime Minister and State and Territory leaders to use tomorrow’s COAG meeting in Cairns to genuinely tackle the reform of Australia’s training system.

“With the global economy now in choppy waters and Australia falling down the world’s performance tables, now, more than ever, governments need to work with industry to secure a long-term prosperous future for us all. The first step has to be a ground-up rebuild of our Vocational Education and Training (VET) System. This must be a national priority,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“It is our view that the VET system is in a less than optimal state to meet the national imperatives of delivering the skill requirements for the labour market of the future.

“Our economy and community are facing significant transformations, triggered by digital disruption, structural adjustment and demographic shifts. This has contributed to a dynamic and accelerating requirement for skills and employment. However, they are not the same as those of today and improvements are urgent and necessary for Australia to have a training system that meets both current and future needs.

“From an employer and individual perspective our training system is further bedevilled by inconsistency in both its multiple funding regimes, declining levels of funding and varying qualification arrangements between the different jurisdictions.

“Disappointing apprenticeship commencement and completion rates add further to the complex and confusing situation. Industry leadership has been eroded and the pivotal alignment of public expenditure to economic imperative and productivity improvements has been severely diluted. Confidence needs to be restored to the VET system.

“Recent research by Ai Group reveals the growing intensity of skill shortages and skill gaps. Our most recent Workforce Development Needs (2018) survey highlights 75% of employers experiencing difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified or skilled people into vacancies. The occupations most frequently reported in shortage were from the Technicians and Trades Workers occupational group, followed by Professionals, all in STEM fields. Employers listing occupations experiencing skills shortages for the first time included those with skills in business automation, big data and artificial intelligence solutions.

“The unprecedented pipeline of public investment across transport and social infrastructure will place significant pressure on government and industry to respond and also creates the opportunity for a skills legacy. Such a large program of work increases pressures on capability and capacity in both the private and public sectors.

“This infrastructure work is necessary to stimulate our softening economy and lift domestic productivity and amenity but it also carries with it pressures on particular skills which are in high demand because they are the same skills required elsewhere in the economy – such as in the mining sector.

“The state of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia is illustrative of the problems plaguing our training system. We find ourselves dealing with 259,385 in apprentices & trainees in training in 2018 compared with 387,100 a decade ago and a high of 446,000 in 2012. This is the lowest for a decade. This drop in volume can be directly linked to a series of policy adjustments including the removal or reduction of many employer incentives.

“A significant consideration is to address the excessively complex and duplicative Commonwealth and State/Territory roles and responsibilities in the training system. The National Skills Commission is an important first step for all parties to engage with. Commitment to a roadmap for reform should be a key outcome of the current COAG process. A genuinely national training system that meets the needs of economy may finally be possible.

“Commitment to a roadmap for reform should be a key outcome of the current COAG process. A genuinely national training system that meets the needs of economy may finally be possible,” Mr Willox said.

Full text of a letter from Innes Willox to the PM and state and territory leaders is at this link.

/Public Release. View in full here.

COAG Call to action on skills

The Australian Chamber is calling on the country’s political leaders to agree to reform our vital Vocation Education and Training (VET) system, to deliver the skills that Australian jobseekers and businesses need, at tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Cairns.

Prime Minister Morrison has put vocational training back on the agenda following the recent Joyce review of VET that he announced to ACCI’s members late last year.

It comes amid evidence that, despite significant funding growth in all other sectors within education, the amount of funding nationally for VET and the number of government funded VET students has declined over recent years.

Australian Chamber CEO James Pearson said it was important to improve confidence in the system.

“We know how fraught discussions about VET reform have been, and recognise that COAG has attempted on a number of occasions to consider changes that will make a real difference to the support provided to students and industry Now is the time for decisions to be made.”

“Industry stands ready to work with all governments, and we know that the Prime Minister is committed to positive change.

“We have worked closely with Ministers and advisers, and government officials, in the lead up to, and after, the Prime Minister’s announcement of the VET review to our members last November. Our network of state and territory chambers of commerce – the peak business bodies in each COAG jurisdiction – and industry associations is well placed to work with all governments on reforming VET.”

“Given the urgent need to make long lasting positive improvements in VET, we urge COAG to focus first on the end goal. This is likely to be a more fruitful discussion than the more difficult one about who pays for what and what changes are needed to get there.”

The Joyce Review has repeated our call for governments, education and training providers and industry to agree on a shared vision for VET. Successful reform of VET would include:

  • Meeting the labour market skill needs in occupations that rely on vocational training
  • A return to growth in the number of government funded VET students
  • Real funding increases for vocational training in all jurisdictions
  • Improved student employment outcomes
  • Industry more strongly embedded in the advisory and governance arrangements at all levels of the VET system
  • Valuing equally VET and Higher Education and promoting jobs that require VET qualifications to students and parents as good career options
  • Increased support for apprenticeships and traineeships to address skill needs and youth unemployment

“The path to achieving these objectives is challenging; we call on COAG to take the lead from the Prime Minister and move beyond the cost and blame shifting to restore certainty and growth to VET,” Mr Pearson said.

“VET not only prepares young people for work, but also ensures Australia has the skilled workers required to build the infrastructure so badly needed in our regions and cities.

“With more than a year before the next State Election, political leaders have the clear air needed to be decisive. Australia cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by to make meaningful change to vocational training.”

The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy, in every corner of Australia. Our Small Business is a Big Deal campaign gives voice to what small businesses need from the federal government, and our Getting on with Business recommends ways to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.

/Public Release. View in full here.