The Jobs and Skills Summit has kicked off a national conversation on how to improve the vocational education and training sector and tackle the national skills shortage.
Consensus between unions, business, state and territory government’s has been achieved on a range of issues and a number of outcomes have been agreed with the aim of ensuring Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system can drive future economic growth of the nation.
Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, said the summit had focused on what can be done immediately to strengthen VET, get more people trained for real jobs and to give business the skilled workers they need. There was also a significant focus on long term challenges that are structural, systemic and cultural.
“After a decade of inaction, we have taken immediate steps since taking Government to plan for the future, address skills gaps and strengthen our VET sector,” Minister O’Connor said.
“As an immediate first step, state and territory skills ministers and the Australian Government will work together to agree a 12-month Skills Agreement to strengthen the TAFE sector.
“The agreement will accelerate the delivery of 465,000 additional fee-free TAFE places, with 180,000 to be delivered next year, and with costs shared with the states and territories on a 50:50 basis.
“We have also agreed to reset negotiations with states and territories on a new long-term funding agreement for skills, so the sector can be fit for purpose.
“Outcomes from the summit also range from taking a detailed look at a new model for VET qualifications to ensure they are most relevant to labour market needs; improving the VET workforce; and strengthening foundational skills, including digital literacy.
“A key theme resonating from the summit was to focus on enabling all Australians, including women, regional and remote learners, First Nations peoples and those facing vulnerability and disadvantage to develop new skills.
“It is crucial to invest in our most important asset – our people. The Summit is only part of our ambition to bring Australians together.
“It has been a critical opportunity to bring people together and start negotiating the path to solutions, unleashing a national conversation about the best way forward.”
The Jobs and Skills Summit outcomes document can be viewed in full at www.treasury.gov.au/employment-whitepaper/jobs-summit