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Government to review Australia’s vocational education

  • Posted on Thursday 29th, November 2018.

The Business Council of Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will undertake an independent review of Australia’s vocational education and skills system and act to boost the number of apprentices.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced the vocational education review at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual dinner, along with a promise to set up 10 new tax clinics to provide free advice to small businesses in tax disputes.

An independent review will be conducted by Steven Joyce, the former New Zealand minister for tertiary education, skills and employment, and an architect of significant reforms to the apprenticeship and industry training system.

Labor and Centre Alliance have been calling for a more comprehensive review of tertiary education, responding to concerns in the business community that too many young people are drifting into university education when a vocational education might be more suitable and useful.

Morrison said providing a skilled workforce to small businesses “depends on vocational education and training” and the review would focus on ensuring businesses had the skills they need to grow.

The sector must be able to “respond to future demands for higher skills, changing industry composition and structural change, especially in rural and regional Australia and people working longer and in varied roles across their working lives”, he said.

Morrison said the review would be conducted “very promptly to make sure we’re training the right people for the right jobs in the years ahead”.

Business Council Chief Executive, Jennifer Westacott, said an independent review into vocational education and skills is a good first step towards making the Australian workforce more resilient.

“An independent review into vocational education and skills is a good first step, focussing on the need for life-long learning and building general literacy and numeracy skills to give Australians the best chance in a volatile and changing Australian economy,” said Westacott. “The world is changing rapidly and that means to compete, Australian workers must be the best trained and most resilient on earth.”

The Business Council of Australia is an industry association that comprises the chief executives of more than 100 of Australia’s biggest corporations.

“The Business Council and its members have long warned that failure of our post-secondary education and skills system will lead to a greater need for skilled migration and more jobs leaving Australian shores. Action to reform the system is urgent to protect Australian workers.

“Reform of the skills system must also be accompanied by reform across the higher education system,” she said.

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