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Whole of industry must engage on future workforce needs

MEDIA RELEASE 9 September 2016

It is imperative that the broad cross section of Australian industry work together to shape an education and training industry that will be ‘fit for purpose’ for future workforce needs, according to the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET).

ACPET CEO Rod Camm, in releasing the Communique from the recent ACPET National Conference in Hobart, said major sector reform, provider quality and empowered students emerged as key themes at the conference.

“We need to build an integrated tertiary education and training sector in Australia that prepares students for a world where they are likely to have upwards of 20 jobs across their lifetime in industries and vocations that have not yet even been developed,” he said.“

Not only do people need technical knowledge, but we also need to enhance the way we develop soft skills such as critical and creative thinking, technological literacy and communication to help students adapt and ensure Australia can effectively respond to changes brought about by technology and other market forces.

“This requires a whole new way of thinking about education and training delivery in this country – everything from industry structure, course offerings and the content and duration of those courses. ”These themes, as outlined in the Communique, strongly reflected the findings of the CEDA research report, VET: Securing skills for growth, released last week.

“We welcome CEDA’s calls for a national review of the sector and support recommendations around improving the quality and transparency of data and increasing the power of regulators to act if standards are not met ,” Mr Camm said. Improving standards, ensuring only quality providers can deliver, and enabling students to make informed decisions about their education and future careers, are essential elements of a new sector structure “We must ensure students are central to the education and training system and prepare them for portability in the labour market, not just for the occupation they choose first,” he said.

Mr Camm has written to key business and industry groups, calling for a broader discussion about future industry needs and how Australia’s education and training system can be best positioned to meet them.

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