The signing of a new National Skills Agreement will for allow greater skills development which has potential to tackle Australia’s crippling shortage of qualified workers. 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s largest and most representative business network, has welcomed the new $3.7 billion agreement. 

“The best way for Australia to avoid recurring skills shortages is to invest strongly in training Australians. This new agreement has in-built features to prevent further skills shortages,” ACCI chief executive officer Andrew McKellar said. 

“A pledge by the states and territories to not reduce their funding in future will provide certainty for the vocational education and training (VET) sector.” 

By 2025, nine of 10 new jobs will require post-secondary qualifications, making a well-funded VET sector crucial. 

The agreement will see the allocation of $2.4 billion in funds across programs targeting national priority areas such as clean energy and net zero, sovereign capability, care and support services, and digital capability improvement. 

The recent Jobs and Skills Australia Skills Priority List reported half of all trade and technician occupations had shortages. 

“To deliver the workforce we need, funding skills training and incentives must work harmoniously. Australia needs an improved incentives scheme to engage apprentices and foster growth in apprenticeship numbers within the system,” Mr McKellar said. 

“More work on the funding model is needed. Rather than tying skills funding to students, the government has linked it to the training provider. A provider-driven formula will not deliver optimum outcomes for students or their future employers,” Mr McKellar said. 

The federal government announced $1.3 billion to support a range of new programs including improved completion rates, more and better-qualified teachers, a Close the Gap initiative, foundation skills training, better data collection and TAFE centres of excellence. 

“State and territory governments must fund these measures equally to help boost the number of skilled workers available to address our existing skills gap,” Mr McKellar said.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

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