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Investment in Skills Vital

CTU Media Release

29 January 2014

Investment in Skills Vital

The Council of Trade Unions is calling for a renewed focus on opportunities for people to lift their skills.

Appearing at the Education and Science Committee at Parliament in a submission on the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Amendment Bill, Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said that people want transferable skills and employers want skilled workers yet we don’t have a system that is fit for purpose.

“We have 258,000 people that are jobless at the same time there are skill shortages and pressures from employers for more immigrant workers”.

The CTU submission called for an amendment to the functions of the Tertiary Education Commission to require that its promotion of industry training is “to a scale of provision that meets the needs of industry including those seeking training opportunities”.

Peter Conway said that the Bill before Parliament on industry training should underpin an ambitious programme of vocational education and training as part of a broad sustainable development framework. That should include objectives to build a modern economy that can support good jobs, lifelong learning opportunities, and high performance workplaces.

“The Bill does not do this. There are some good aspects of the Bill such as combining different apprenticeships into one model. But some of the changes proposed could destabilise the industry training system”.

The CTU sought the removal of the proposal in the Bill to divert funding away from Industry Training Organisations (ITOs).

Peter Conway said that this proposal could fracture a national focus on industry training.

“There is the possibility of the viability of ITOs being threatened if industry training funding under the Act for some major parts of the industry or industries the ITO covers is removed.”

Peter Conway said there is already flexibility for employers to switch ITOs and employers or other organisations that receive such direct funding as proposed in the Bill would not be on a level playing field with an ITO.

ENDS

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