The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has outlined three focus areas for federal policy in skills education and training as the ongoing labour shortage looms over an upcoming federal election.
Ai Group has been a peak employer organisation for almost 150 years, advocating for effective workplace management from government and businesses.
The Group’s three areas of focus are “improving our approach to skills needs, qualifications, education and training; the opportunities presented by work-integrated learning (including apprenticeships); and the importance of developing foundation skills – including in workplaces.”
Key to fulfilling these areas is the recognition that technology and digitisation will enable the future of all industries, according to Ai Group.
“Shortages of skilled labour across a growing range of occupations are a clear constraint on business expansion and the provision of goods and services by both the public and private sectors,” the Group stated.
“Skill shortages, including in the important area of skills related to digitisation, are holding back the ability of businesses and other organisations to adopt new technologies and processes.”
More pressing for the quarrying and construction sectors is Australia’s support for vocational education. Ai Group cited a report from the Productivity Commission which found Australia’s performance in this area remained mediocre.
“Continued commitment to addressing long-term declines in VET (vocational education and training) funding by all levels of government is also necessary,” the Group stated.
The apprenticeship model also came under focus in the Group’s policy statement, as it commended the success of the boosting apprenticeship commencements wage subsidy.
“The need for trade and related skills will continue for many years to come and this wage subsidy should continue for at least a further 24 months while longer term approaches to support are developed,” the statement read.
Read the full statement from Ai Group.