Release type: Media Release


Professor Peter Dawkins AO to lead Jobs and Skills Australia


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

Peter Dawkins AO, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Victoria University, has been appointed as the Interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA). 

The former Vice-Chancellor and President of the dual-sector Victoria University will take on the critical role of establishing the functions and preparing the foundations of JSA.

Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, said the Interim Director appointment will help secure the Government’s plans to address the nation’s skills shortages.

“Professor Dawkins is eminently qualified, knowledgeable and experienced to take on this important role and I congratulate him on his appointment,” Minister O’Connor said.

“He shares our passion for the power of education and training to transform lives, and I welcome his extensive knowledge of labour market economics to lead Jobs and Skills Australia.

“It comes as Australia faces one of its biggest economic challenges in decades – a lack of skilled workers across the labour market.

“JSA, which formally begun its work in recent weeks, will provide independent advice to government on current and emerging skills, labour market and workforce needs.

“It will use a tripartite approach with state and territory governments, employers, business peaks, unions and training providers.

“We have invested an additional $12.9 million in last month’s 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.”

Professor Dawkins will be Interim Director while the Australian Government consults on JSA’s final model and carries out an open selection process for JSA’s permanent leadership, following the introduction of legislation in early 2023.

Professor Dawkins is a former Vice-Chancellor and President of the dual-sector Victoria University, and an Emeritus Professor of Economics with Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy, with over 40 years of experience in economics and labour market research.

Professor Dawkins holds multiple qualifications, including a PhD in economics and labour market development, and has in-depth knowledge and experience in labour market analysis, and both the higher education and vocational education and training systems.

Professor Dawkins has also held senior positions in the Victorian Public Service, including Deputy Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance and Secretary of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.  

In 2017, Professor Dawkins received an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours for distinguished service to tertiary education as an administrator and academic, particularly in the field of applied economic and social research, to professional organisations, and to public administration.