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Flexibility in tertiary models key to addressing skills

Flexibility in tertiary models key to addressing skills shortage

The deepening skills shortage is a key concern for employers which is why the EMA is keen to understand further detail around the Government’s announcement on tertiary models today.

"Action needs to be taken to address the skills shortage if we want to grow prosperity and productivity as a nation," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.

The Government’s response to the Productivity Commission inquiry into New Models of Tertiary Education outlined four key focus areas which will be developed into a strategy for tertiary education in 2018.

"The fact that one of the four key areas outlined by the Minister was the importance of meeting the needs of industry and employers is very positive," says Mr Campbell.

"However, we are keen to understand the detail of this and work with the Minister to ensure the needs of employers are integral to the development of this strategy.

"We have called for more flexibility and responsiveness in the current system, to meet the needs of industry now and in the future. We must bridge the gap between employers and tertiary institutions so it is more integrated.

"We also need to invest in lifelong learning. Currently, we focus on investing in 18 to 24 year olds - and rightly so - but we must also look at the long term needs of an individual over their working career and balance this with the requirements of our industry needs."

The skills shortage continues. In the EMA Employers Survey 2015 67% of employers were finding it difficult to recruit for skilled positions. A year later in the Employers Survey 2016 this had increased to 72%. Furthermore, employers are struggling to recruit positions across all range of skills from fully qualified professionals to manual labourers.

"Which is why we also advocate for vocational training to be made more appealing to school leavers too. About 70% of school leavers do not go onto tertiary education, however they still need to gain work-related qualifications for their first step into their working career," says Mr Campbell.


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