VET skills critical to future workforce growth: National Skills Commissioner

VET skills critical to future workforce growth: National Skills Commissioner

The VET sector’s key role in addressing the country’s skills shortage has been highlighted by National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton who has identified the growing demand for technical and trades workers and the looming need for tens of thousands of entrants to health and care roles.

In a live webinar last week, Mr Boyton said that the NSC’s Skills Priority List shows 19% of occupations in shortage across Australia, with shortages most common in technician and trade workers, where 42% of occupations are in shortage.

By skill level, the shortages are most pronounced at Certificate III and IV, with the large occupations in this area being electricians, hairdressers and cooks.

“If I think about the strong growth we expect to see in aged and disabled carers, that also tells us there’s an enormous role for the VET system in providing the skills that we need to satisfy our future jobs growth,” Mr Boyton said.

“And that’s even before I’ve touched on construction, where we think there’ll be about 80,000 additional jobs over the next five years.”

Another of the fastest growing skills over the next five years is likely to be in the testing of computer and software performance, resolving computer system issues, and developing or administering testing procedures.

One of the intriguing features of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it upended the historic pattern of skills shortages in capital cities versus regional areas.

For the first time in the five-year history of the data, it became more difficult to recruit in regional areas than in capital cities as a result of the pandemic.

The NSC’s Internet Vacancy Index shows the collapse in vacancies at the height of lockdowns in mid-2020, followed by an equally stunning rebound. The most recent result for July, at the far right, shows a fall of 3% in job vacancies in July, driven by a 10% slide in NSW, something that can be expected to deteriorate further given the latest lockdowns.

But it is the projections for the future jobs growth that shines a light on the role of VET.

When the NSC looks at the industries likely to contribute to jobs growth over the next five years, the results are quite remarkable.

The industries are dominated by the services sector, and four industries in particular – health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, professional scientific and technical services, and education and training. These four sectors will contribute more than half of all jobs growth up to 2025.

The breakdown in the growth of these jobs tells a story about both society and economy – aged and disabled care positions up by more than 54,000, registered nurses up about 46,000 and software and application programmers up about 46,000.

As Adam Boyton puts it, it’s not just about the numbers but the trends in the underlying occupational base – strong growth in services, and very fast growth in STEM related occupations.

One of the NSC’s interesting new developments is the VET National Data Asset – a partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics that will link data on VET students with data on income, employment and further study, effectively building a fuller picture of how the choices that students make translate over time into jobs, income and even business opportunities.

The webinar was conducted by the National Apprentice Employment Network and sponsored by TDA, with the discussion and Q&A session  hosted by Claire Field.

The slides provided by the National Skills Commissioner are available here.

National Skills Week brings events around the country


National Skills Week starts today with a host of activities around the country to promote the benefit of VET skills and careers.

There are a wide range of activities listed on the National Skills Week website. The theme for the week invites Australians to ‘RE-THINK’ their ideas about VET and the importance of preparing people for work, especially in a post-pandemic economy.

TDA has partnered with the Australian Institute of Sport and SkillsOne to create a range of activities and online sessions.

TAFEs will provide 30-minute presentations on a range of topics including, emerging skills training aligned to the future of work. You can join one of these sessions which will be presented live or pre-recorded on the following days:

Tuesday 24 August, 12 – 12.30pm
Victoria Uni PolytechnicBreaking Barriers with Technology.

Thursday 26 August, 12 – 12.30 pm
QLD TAFE Block Chain Technologies – Future employability skills and related technologies.
Join the Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 899 5768 6085
Passcode: TAFEQLD

It’s an extension of the work that TDA and the AIS currently undertake through the Elite Athlete TAFE Network whereby TDA member TAFEs and dual sector universities support high performing athletes during and after their sporting careers.

Victorian Training Awards finalists announced

William Angliss Institute, Chisholm Institute and Box Hill Institute will battle it out for Large Training Provider of the Year, after the finalists for the 2021 Victorian Training Awards were announced last week.

Box Hill Institute and Bendigo Kangan Institute are finalists for Inclusive Training Provider of the Year.

There are two TAFE institutes vying for the Industry Collaboration AwardWodonga TAFE, in partnership with Transport Women Australia and Volvo Australia; and Holmesglen Institute in collaboration with CYP Design & Construction.

The Teacher/Trainer of the Year will be decided between Scott Hopkins from SuniTAFE, Michelle McNab from GOTAFE, and Julie Kramer from Bendigo TAFE.

The winners of the awards will be announced on October 16.

See all the finalists.

Tasmania unveils its VET ambassadors

Skills Tasmania has announced five new VET ambassadors featured in the next phase of The Skills to take you further VET campaign.

The VET ambassadors are:

  • Caitlin Radford, Australian Apprentice of the Year and agricultural leader
  • Chris Medcraft, Disability Support Worker
  • Heetham Hekmat, Australian Vocational Student of the Year and Youth Support Worker
  • Jess Benge, Learning Support Officer and autism advocate
  • Richard Wilkinson, builder and career changer.

See their stories here.

VET researchers urged to submit their work for publication

For all those engaged in VET research, there is a chance to share that work with others in the upcoming edition of Research Today, published by AVETRA, Australasia’s independent association of researchers in VET.

The magazine is the forum where VET practitioners share the innovative skills and projects that they are working on, often in partnership with industry and community.

Articles should be around 1000-1500 words and on topics of interest to AVETRA members and the wider VET community, including researchers, academics, VET practitioners and other stakeholders. Articles on VET practitioner-led and applied research are especially welcome.

Research Today is released twice a year with publication usually in May and October. The most recent edition is here.

Contributions are due by Thursday 23 September 2021.

If you would like to contribute to the magazine, please contact Andrew Williamson via email or phone 0400 403 755 for more information.

TAFETalks: New World – Lessons from Canada

In case you missed this webinar, or you would like to share it with colleagues, please find the recording here.

New industry training hub opens in WA

The latest of the federal government’s new Industry Training Hubs has opened in Wanneroo, north of Perth.

It is one of 10 being trialled across Australia, as part of the government’s $50 million investment to create jobs in areas of high youth unemployment.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia has been awarded the contract for the Wanneroo Training Hub, with Megan Strong appointed as Career Facilitator to manage the hub

Training Hubs are under way in Burnie, Townsville, Maryborough, Port Pirie, Shepparton, Armadale (WA), and Gosford.

Adult Learners Week brings a chance to 'change your story'

Adult Learners Week 2021, which runs from 1–8 September, highlights the breadth of opportunities for further learning available across the country.

This year’s theme, ‘Change Your Story’ promotes the idea that people can make a fresh start, take their lives in new directions through adult education.

Adult Learners’ Week is now in its 26th year and is coordinated by Adult Learning Australia.

The virtual launch on 1 September will feature a message from Minister Stuart Robert, and MC, comedian and author Catherine Deveny who will be live in conversation with guests Ian Roberts, former NRL player, Lana Masterton from the social enterprise ‘Down the Track’, and Simon Fenech, an ex-prisoner who has turned his life around through adult learning.

Registration is free but places are limited.

See more

Survey opens on qualifications reform

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is inviting feedback on qualifications reform through a survey that is open to interested parties.

The Qualifications Reform Survey is the latest in a series of surveys and is open to everyone but may be of particular interest to those in the VET sector involved in the design, development and delivery of national training products.

A series of webinars will be held in September to discuss new qualification design concepts.

The survey will be open until September 20.

Diary Dates

National Skills Week
23 – 29 August 2021
More information

WorldSkills National Championships & Skills Show
25 – 29 August 2021
More information

Human Services Workforce Online Forum Perth
26 August 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 9.30am
Employers – 1.00pm

Adult Learners Week
1 – 8 September 2021
More information

Human Services Workforce Online Forum Hobart
2 September 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 1.00pm
Employers / Service Providers – 9.30am

2021 National VET Conference
Velg Training
9 – 19 September 2021
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

Victorian TAFE Association
2021 State Conference: ‘Connecting the Dots’
16 – 17 September 2021 (virtual)
More information

National Symposium on the Student Experience
University of Melbourne
17 September 2021
More information

Human Services Workforce Forum Adelaide
22 September 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 10:30am (In person)
Employers / Service Providers – 1:30pm (Online event)

Human Services Workforce Forum Adelaide
23 September 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 10:30am (In person)
Training Organisations – 1.30pm (Online)

Human Services Workforce Forum NT
27 September 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 9.30am
Employers / Service Providers – 1.30pm

Australian International Education Conference 2021
5 – 8 October 2021
Gold Coast & Online
More information

Human Services Workforce Forum Melbourne
7 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers – 9.30am
Training Organisations – 1.30pm

Human Services Workforce Forum Sydney
14 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 9.30am
Training Organisations – 1.30pm

Human Services Workforce Forum Canberra
26 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 10.30am (In person)
Employers / Service Providers – 1.30pm (Online event)

Human Services Workforce Forum Canberra
27 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 10.30am (In person)
Training Organisations – 1.30pm (Online event)

Australian Training Awards
18 November 2021
Perth, Western Australia
More information

2021 VDC Virtual Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
18 – 19 November 2021 (Online)
Save the date

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
15 – 17 March 2022
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania
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