Training initiatives key to easing skills shortage

OF the “plethora” of issues faced across his three portfolio areas none is more profound than the WA’s skills shortage, according to Energy, Training and Workforce Development and Indigenous Affairs minister Peter Collier.
“The mining and petroleum industries make a significant contribution, not just to WA, but nationally. Last year we had $106 billion in exports from the mining and petroleum industries – that’s a phenomenal input; that’s around 95 per cent of merchandise exports [in WA],” Mr Collier said at the Australasian Oil and Gas Conference & Exhibition last month. “We need to be mindful of the fact that at the moment on the drawing board we have around $267 billion worth of projects, fundamentally in the resources sector.
“The real prospect of those projects going ahead is very good, very positive. While the rest of the world is teetering and while the east coast continues to basically live off our backs as they’ve done for over 200 years, we in Western Australia must ensure that we can do all that we possibly can to make sure that those projects do continue to go ahead.”
Mr Collier said that the latest fi gures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that WA is faced with the prospect of being 76,000 workers short by 2015, and that a significant majority of those would be needed for the resources sector.
A former teacher himself, Mr Collier said that as part of the State Government’s Skilling WA workforce development plan, the Government and the community as a whole needed to raise the profile of training as a career pathway in society.
“We need to send a very unambiguous, transparent message to students in our schools, to those that are marginalised in our community, and to mature age people out there that we in fact do provide training opportunities, and a career pathway through training is a treasured possession,” Mr Collier said.
He said that the training opportunities on offer gave participants a qualifi cation to “open doors,” not just in WA but also nationally and internationally.
“We’ve got to tell students in Year 10 who are making those subject choices, don’t think you have to choose an academic pathway, [and] don’t think that you are subservient to a second class or that you are somehow diminished as an individual if you choose a training pathway,” he said.
In the past three years, the WA State Government has established 10 state training providers (formerly TAFE colleges), 10 industry training councils, 14 workforce development centres and five Aboriginal workforce development centres to boost the Skilling WA initiative.

 

 

By Jaimee Conn

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