The Australian Government has released a discussion paper calling for feedback from state and territory governments, employer bodies, unions, tertiary providers and community organisations on future arrangements for the permanent Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).
Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor MP, said Jobs and Skills Australia is a key priority of the Government and an important part of addressing the national skills crisis.
“Seeking wide-reaching advice from our tripartite partners will strengthen the integrity of JSA and deliver greater certainty for business and industry and support opportunities for Australians, particularly those most disadvantaged," Minister O’Connor said.
“We need to be sure that when we’re investing billions of taxpayers’ dollars in skills training, that it is going to fill critical labour market shortages in the economy.
“That can only be done working with our partners to collect the right information to identify the skills Australians need. Great analysis and forecasting from JSA is a prerequisite to ensure we are prioritising and planning for the skills we need.
“I’m calling on state and territory governments, industry, unions, tertiary providers and community organisations to consider the Discussion Paper and respond with feedback on how they want JSA to work with them in the future, Minister O’Connor said.
It is proposed that Jobs and Skills Australia’s initial set of functions be expanded to ensure that it can take a broad, economy-wide perspective in its advice.
Stakeholder consultation to date has established some common themes that are intended to inform its proposed final form.
These include that JSA:
- Involve state and territory governments as major purchasers of training and ensure jurisdictional needs are considered, local knowledge informs analysis and products, and more targeted solutions are enabled
- Have a multi-disciplinary board, with industry and union representation
- Provide more granular data and analysis to inform workforce planning and funding decisions at state and regional levels, and to inform place-based solutions
- Provide insights about under-employment, and how to create conditions and pathways to better use the skills and abilities of all Australians, particularly those traditionally disadvantaged
- Provide information about workforce supply and demand to understand barriers to participation
- Better guide Jobs and Skills Councils to improve workforce planning and training product design
- Play a central role in workforce planning and career advice, while also coordinating skills, employment, and migration settings
- Provide economy-wide advice that includes higher education.
“We are an open, transparent and consultative Government, and I want to make sure we continue to hear from our partners, to get it right and ensure JSA’s work addresses current and future workforce needs," Minister O’Connor said.
“JSA will provide independent insights for government on current and emerging skills, labour market and workforce needs,” Minister O’Connor said.
“It will act as a trusted source of evidence and analysis for all Australians about the jobs and skills required now, and in the future, to help the Australian Government improve employment opportunities and economic growth.
“Already, Peter Dawkins AO, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Victoria University, has been appointed as the interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia.
“We invested an additional $12.9 million in the October Budget to help JSA more precisely identify and anticipate skills shortages, based on the best available evidence.
“On top of that, $1.9 million in funding will be used by JSA to prepare a capacity study into Australia’s clean energy workforce to provide better analysis of the skills needed to support the clean energy transition.
“JSA will also lead the development and delivery of a $12 million study on adult literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills, which will provide up-to-date evidence on the level of foundation skills among Australian adults.”
Public submissions on the Jobs and Skills Discussion Paper close on 10 February 2023.
For information on how to make a submission visit: Jobs and Skills Australia - Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian Government (dewr.gov.au)
Jobs and Skills Australia discussion paper - Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian Government (dewr.gov.au)