$316 million plan to deal with skills shortage

Posted by James Ferre on 26th August 2008

Victorian Premier John Brumby today unveiled a $316 million overhaul of the training sector which, it is hoped, will help deal with the skills shortage.

Under the biggest investment in Victoria’s history to the state’s training sector, 172,000 extra Government-supported training places will be created and, in a landmark deal with the Commonwealth, university-style loans will be made available to students studying diploma and advanced diploma qualifications.

Premier John Brumby claimed the scheme would deliver massive benefits to students, employers, industry and the training sector while also tackling skills shortages. “We will provide a Government supported place for every eligible student who wants to train, re-train or boost their qualifications in the Victoria’s training sector,” he said. “This will not only be a major win for students, but will make it easier for mothers wanting to return to work, workers seeking to increase their skills and Victorians wanting to train in growth industries.”

Skills and Workforce Participation Minister Jacinta Allan said small and medium sized businesses and their workforces would benefit from the new $52 million Skills for Growth program. “Skills for Growth will provide hands on support for businesses to identify how training opportunities can help their businesses grow,” she said. “In a national first, the Commonwealth has agreed to extend its FEE-HELP structure to cover Victoria’s training sector.”

“The Victorian Government will also fund the training of 250 industry experts so they can deliver training,” Mr Brumby added. “People with recent industry experience will be encouraged to take up part-time teaching, while still working in industry.”

Mr Brumby reported that Victoria is confronted with a possible shortage of 123,000 highly skilled workers by 2015, dictating a need for action.

The skills shortage in Australia is a concern for many businesses, with the food industry one of the hardest hit. Quality chefs, waitstaff, managers and agricultural workers are particularly hard to find in some areas.

Poaching has been increasingly reported as restaurants resort to taking staff from rivals in order to deal with the issue and the shortage of suitable workers has placed greater strain on business at a time when costs are rising and consumer confidence is falling.

More information can be found at: www.skills.vic.gov.au/corporate/directions/skillsreform.