Release type: Media Release


Australia represented at OECD Skills Summit


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor will this week travel to Brussels to attend the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Skills Summit, along with Skills and Education Ministers from across the OECD.

Minister O’Connor is the first Australian Skills Minister to join the OECD Skills Summit - since it commenced in 2016 – and is attending due to the urgency the Albanese Government places on addressing skills shortages, and the importance of international cooperation with countries experiencing similar challenges.

Ministers and senior officials from 38 OECD member countries and a number of non-member countries will take part in the Summit on 21 and 22 February. 

The Summit will:

  • Discuss how countries can shape their skills and training sectors to respond to future opportunities and challenges, including the shift to Net Zero emissions, as well as digitisation and Artificial Intelligence;
  • Consider how vocational education and training (VET) can provide people with skills across their lives, to equip them for more diverse career pathways; and
  • Allow Ministers to exchange insights into creating inclusive skills sectors that support people, including vulnerable groups, to embrace and adapt to workforce changes. 

The summit is an opportunity to discuss best-practice methods of addressing skills shortages and to share the Albanese Government’s achievements in the skills and training sector.

These include signing the landmark $30 billion National Skills Agreement with states and territories, the first agreement of its kind in a decade, the creation of Jobs and Skills Australia and the outstanding response to our Fee-Free TAFE initiative, with more than 300,000 Australians enrolling to study in high demand areas of the economy.

In addition to the formal Summit proceedings, the Minister will hold individual meetings with other Ministers to encourage greater cooperation on addressing skills shortages between OECD countries.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP:

“This is a great opportunity to showcase our achievements in the skills and training sector while learning about the approaches that other countries are taking during this time of international skills shortages.

“We will also be able to build and strengthen ties with key partner countries.

“The VET sector is an engine room of opportunity and for creating long-lasting prosperity.

“Australia is investing in evidence-based trials and pilot programs with the goal of being one step ahead of future skills in demand, with a focus on the transition to net zero and the digital transformation.

“Jobs and Skills Australia’s first Clean Energy Capacity Study is one example of this.

“The OECD Skills Summit will help us fine tune our approach and benchmark our progress against world-leading economies.”