While National Skills Week (23-29 August) aims to raise the profile and status of vocational education, in 2021 it is a stark reminder of the looming skills crisis facing Australia.
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, said the 2021 Skills Week has highlighted the skills crisis coming out of the pandemic, with the number of new apprentices and trainees in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area, falling 29% since 2013, when Labor was last in Government.
“The sad truth is that the skills sector has been struggling for the past eight years because successive Liberal and National Governments have cut more than $3 billion from vocational education and training,” Mr Neumann said.
“As a result, we have a serious skills gap crisis and an ongoing decline that has seen 150,000 fewer apprentices in Australia.
“Meanwhile, there are 658 fewer apprentices and trainees locally, which means we do not have the pipeline of skilled workers we need in our own region.
“The Morrison-Joyce Government’s failures will make it harder for local workers to get work.
“One in four Australian businesses are experiencing skills shortages and the Government’s own National Skills Commission has found shortages are most common in the Technicians and Trades Workers occupation group.
“Now the Morrison Government is trying to play catch up in bridging the skills gap – and it’s not that easy and not that quick a fix.
“Eight years of neglect by the Liberals and Nationals means that locals do not have the training they need for the jobs that are becoming available – it’s not good enough.
“COVID-19 has laid bare the skills gap caused by the Morrison-Joyce Government’s neglect and cuts to TAFE and training.
“As a country we need to be climbing the technological ladder. That means we need to have more skilled jobs and we need to make sure that we are doing the training to fill these highly skilled jobs.
“This is the only way to ensure that young people in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area will be equipped for the jobs of the future.”