Skilling for life – VET instrumental towards shaping Australia’s future workforce

  • July 11, 2019

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business addressing the 28th VET Conference. Image: Twitter @SenatorCash

The 28th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’, co-hosted with TAFE SA in Adelaide is ongoing, and the Morrison government renewed their commitment to VET claiming vocational education and training will be central towards shaping Australia’s future human resources.

Speaking at the conference, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, said her administration would work towards making VET a student’s primary choice post completion of school. “It is a valuable career choice for many Australians and should not be seen as being something less important than a university degree,” she said.

More than 4 million people undertook vocational education and training in 2017. At the end of last year, there were more than a quarter of a million apprentices and trainees. “We know that people with VET qualifications are highly regarded and sought after by employers, but we need more people to choose VET as their path to success,” Minister Cash said.

Minister Cash also delivered a message to education providers of the VET sector that more cooperation with industry was required to create better outcomes for students.

“Employers look to vocationally trained workers because of their suitability in skills and experience. Australia’s VET system must better connect with industry, respond to community needs, and have clear, consistent funding.

The Australian Government’s $525 million Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package announced in the April Budget will also ensure that the sector can help supply Australia’s future workforce. The package provides every Australian with the opportunity to grow the skills needed to succeed in an evolving workforce and, concurrently offers employers a pipeline of qualified workers they need to grow and prosper.

Minister Cash said the package reflects the Morrison Government’s commitment to growing the number of new apprenticeships.

“Under our landmark skills package, up to 80,000 additional apprenticeships will be created over the next five years in priority skill shortage areas, assisted by new apprenticeship incentives. Youth unemployment will be targeted with an offering of 400 scholarships in regional Australia to the value of $8 million.”

This year’s theme is “The student journey: skilling for life”. According to National Centre for Vocational Education Research,  “while every student’s journey is different, more and more research and discussion points to how workers must become lifelong learners to enable them to grow and evolve with their jobs. VET plays a critical role in making this happen.