Western Australia announces review of skills, training and workforce development

The Western Australian Government has announced an urgent review of skills, training and workforce development in response to COVID-19.

“This review will provide a direct line to Government for the State’s business and industry stakeholders who have made it clear they want to communicate their training needs and to see responses implemented,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

“We all know that COVID-19 is having a profound impact on our workforce and that we need to rebuild opportunities for the recovery period,” said the Premier.

The review team will engage with industry and business to identify training needs and develop specific proposals that respond to these needs. The review will aim to identify practical and responsive training solutions for the post-COVID-19 recovery period.

This follows the profound effect the pandemic’s restrictions have had on the workforce with many people losing their jobs or employment opportunities being reduced significantly.

The review team will be led by Ms Anne Driscoll, Director General of the Department of Training and Workforce Development; Ms Michelle Hoad, Managing Director, North Metropolitan TAFE and Ms Terry Durant, Managing Director, South Metropolitan TAFE.

“Skills, training and workforce development are critical if we are to ensure a supply of skilled workers across priority industry sectors; prepare people for new and emerging industry needs and equip the health, not-for-profit and government sectors in supporting the community,” said WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery.

“We also want to engage those at-risk in training aligned to employment opportunities and maximise skills development through government stimulus works. Western Australia’s primary training provider – TAFE – is critical to this process and it’s pleasing the review team will be championed by three of its highly experienced leaders,” said Minister Ellery.

Comment by Community Colleges Australia

“Western Australia is the first state government to announce a review in response to COVID-19, but it certainly will not be the last. The pandemic has up-ended many of our pre-conceived ideas of what VET would be doing in 2020 and beyond,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia (CCA).

“Australia is facing a deep recession, with levels of unemployment unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. Given that the state and territory governments carry primary responsibility for Australian VET, we will soon see a rapid recalibration of how the states approach training,” said Dr Perlgut.

The adult and community education (ACE) sector in Western Australia represents enrols more than 22% (84,000) of the state’s VET students, according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). This exceeds TAFE, with 19% (70,900) of the state’s VET students.

“ACE activity in WA is very strong. CCA strongly urges the WA Government to consult WA providers in this important review. Including ACE providers will guarantee the state’s ability to meet the future training needs of its population,” said Dr Perlgut.

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