Annual Skills Priority List smoking gun – Group of Eight

The National Skills Commission’s (NSC) annual skills priority list is the smoking gun that reaffirms the role our universities can and must play in addressing a skills crisis that cuts across all sectors of the economy and at all qualification levels.

The Group of Eight (Go8) Universities educate almost half of Australia’s engineering graduates and more than half of the nation’s science, medical, dentistry and veterinary students.

Go8 Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson, said the Priority list is alarming in that many of the professions where we have a skills shortage were not evident just two years ago – a situation clearly exacerbated by Covid, closed borders and visa settings.

“The List reinforces the Go8’s call, which has been acknowledged by the Government, that universities must be part of the forward agenda of the newly established Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).

“The creation of JSA is an important step toward to addressing Australia’s workforce and skills shortage and as such is an opportunity to recalibrate our national workforce planning. Doctors are in as short supply as care workers. Engineers are in as short supply as crane operators. JSA is a worthy vehicle with which to identify what needs to be done and how to alleviate this issue, one which is building to catastrophic in some sectors which is evident through this list,” Ms Thomson said.

The Commission has previously forecast “that jobs growth will be highest in services industries and in jobs requiring higher level qualifications”. More than nine out of 10 jobs to be created will require post-secondary education – jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are predicted to grow by 14.2 per cent, twice as fast as non-STEM jobs at 7.4 per cent.

“It is the Go8 universities, with our 110,000 graduates each year, who will assist in delivering both the quality and quantum required for a more sovereign nation of doctors, engineers, lawyers, and the education of graduates in AI, Space, quantum computing and cyber security, all of which are critical to the nation’s economic prosperity,” said Ms Thomson.

“We have a strong track record working with government, business and industry to address skills shortages in Australia’s workforce, and in the past year convened engineering, medical and IT workforce summits.

We’re ready and willing to work with closely with the Albanese government, JSA, industry and business to help address Australia’s skills shortages and boost the nation’s productivity”.

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