BOOSTING TRAINING NEEDS INVESTMENT FROM BUSINESS AS WELL AS NATIONAL LEADERSHIP

11 Oct 2017

New research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) emphasises the need for businesses to invest in training, alongside government support for vocational education and skills.

New research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) emphasises the need for businesses to invest in training, alongside government support for vocational education and skills.

The report shows that support for skills development by Australian businesses is patchy at best and leaves important groups of workers out of training.

Both business and government need to start addressing skills needs, while facing up to the challenges of artificial intelligence, automation, a carbon constrained economy, an increasingly part-time workforce and an ageing population.

As the report notes, investment in training has benefits for individuals, firms and society as a whole. There is a positive association between innovation and the proportion of firms in a country providing employer-supported training.

It further notes that skills development complements the adoption of new technology and innovative practices to improve the productivity and competitiveness of firms.

Successful export economies such as Germany understand the importance of a highly skilled workforce.

However, the Turnbull government has dropped the ball on skills. The National Partnership Agreement on Skills is months overdue. Their much-vaunted announcement of 300,000 new apprentices and traineeships is completely reliant on inadequate and insecure funding, linked to foreign worker visa fees.

The government has neither the commitment to skills training nor the capacity to focus on policy required to address this critical need. Torn apart by internal divisions, it has left skills in the too-hard basket.

Labor calls on the government to undertake detailed analysis to understand the contributions that business and households are making to skills development. The government is driving blindfolded, without the necessary information to develop effective skills policy.

Labor recognises that skills development needs national leadership, and has announced policies that will boost investment in vocational education and training, increase the number of trainees and apprenticeships, and rebuild TAFE.

Labor will continue to work with workers, businesses and training providers like TAFE, to ensure that vocational education and training is prioritised so that the skills training needed to boost productivity is delivered.

TUESDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2017