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New survey calls for skills reform to rebuild workforce

skills

A new skills survey from Ai Group has reported that businesses are struggling to secure skilled workers, impacting growth. 

Released today, Listening to Australian businesses on skills and workforce needs surveyed around 350 business leaders from a range of Australian companies on their skills and workforce needs and challenges. 

“Businesses report that when they need to implement a new business model, adopt a new technology or just plan to increase customer demand, they are constrained because they are struggling to secure the right people with the right skills to get the job done,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said. 

Willox believes the solution lies in education and training at scale, in terms of skilling, re-skilling and upskilling workers – including Machinery Operators and Drivers, and Labourers. 

Among the key findings, the survey revealed that: 

  • 38 per cent of businesses’ skill needs had increased in relation to Machinery Operators and Drivers, and 37 per cent for Labourers; 
  • There was strong support for training and development, with 82 per cent of businesses intending to either maintain or increase the amount they spend on staff training and development in the next 12 months; and 
  • 74 per cent of businesses expressed interest in employing university or TAFE students as higher-level apprentices or cadets, indicating a strong appetite for new apprenticeship-style training contracts beyond the traditional trades. 

Some of the potential solutions outlined were: 

  • Focus on developing leadership and management capabilities. Employers need improved access to relevant microcredentials to regularly develop managers in new roles, tasks and capabilities; 
  • Work towards a more coherent and connected tertiary education system, by removing the current barriers for students wanting to move between the VET and higher education sectors; and 
  • Ensure tertiary education funding is equitable across sectors, sufficient to deliver access and equity principles and supports both public and private providers. 

“Skills Ministers are meeting in Adelaide on Friday prior to the Australian Training Awards. This survey amplifies the importance of Ministers making key decisions and acting upon the reforms required,” Willox said. 

“We need to start rebuilding our workforce at home as a matter of urgency. It is a huge national challenge. No sector of our population should be left out. If we are serious about building an economy for the future, we need to use all the resources at our disposal.” 

 

The Ai Group skills survey was produced with the support of AustralianSuper. 

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