The McGowan Government will today hear from Goldfields-Esperance business leaders about new ideas and opportunities to grow the local skilled workforce at a regional skills summit in Kalgoorlie.
Insights from the Kalgoorlie Goldfields-Esperance Regional Skills Summit will form the basis of a local action plan to address changing workforce needs in the region, with a focus on local solutions for local issues.
More than 40 government and regional business leaders are attending from a range of sectors including healthcare and social assistance, education and training, accommodation and food services, public administration and safety, construction and retail.
Recognising the importance of training to build a skilled workforce and retain people in regional areas, the McGowan Government has been working to ensure its investment in training initiatives reaches all corners of the State.
Goldfields-Esperance locals are snapping up affordable training opportunities offered through the State Government’s Lower fees, local skills (LFLS) initiative, with a 26 per cent increase in LFLS enrolments in the region this year.
Employers have responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in the Goldfields-Esperance region in 2021, with commencements up by more than 80 per cent in the 12 months to July 31, 2021.
The McGowan Government recently expanded the LFLS program by a further 30 courses, to now include a total of 210 courses with heavily reduced course fees in priority industry areas including train driving, veterinary nursing, crane operations, surveying, laboratory technology, wool classing, hospitality management and others.
Workers in industries which have a critical need to upskill workers – including childcare, aged and disability care, and civil construction – will be able to access low fee existing worker traineeship places to help meet the skills needs of these sectors.
The new initiatives respond to workforce issues raised by industry leaders at the Perth and regional skills summits held to date, and are jointly funded through a $103.5 million agreement between the State and Commonwealth governments under the expanded JobTrainer Fund agreement.
Other initiatives progressing from the Perth Skills Summit include attracting onshore skilled migrants to fill jobs in demand in WA; supporting mature age apprentices; promoting the tourism and hospitality industry to school students to grow the workforce; extending the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive; freezing regional Government rental accommodation to attract public sector workers to the regions; and boosting Aboriginal youth employment opportunities.
The State Government is also providing support for jobseekers experiencing disadvantage to obtain a driver’s licence; progressing targeted advertising campaigns to attract interstate workers and increase participation of under-represented groups in WA; has smoothed the pipeline of construction work; and is running a series of 10 Regional Skills Summits, including the one being held today.
As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
“Training Western Australians to fill jobs in demand is the centrepiece of our State’s economic recovery and maintaining a strong and sustainable workforce in the Goldfields-Esperance region is pivotal to our continuing success.
“The Kalgoorlie Goldfields-Esperance Regional Skills Summit is an opportunity for regional business leaders to work in partnership with government to progress new or innovative ideas to meet the region’s unique skills needs.”
As stated by Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Education and Training Terry Healy:
“Through our Skills Summits, we are listening to industry and implementing initiatives to address their workforce needs.
“Our Government is keen to hear what practical actions can be taken in the Goldfields-Esperance region to help fill local jobs.”
As stated by Kalgoorlie MLA Ali Kent:
“It’s fantastic to have one of the Skills Summits being held here in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
“The Goldfields is one of the strong engine houses of the WA economy and we want to make sure that we are at the forefront in developing a plan to strengthen the region for the future.
“Having also just started construction on the Kalgoorlie TAFE upgrade there are a number of exciting initiatives underway to increase the capability of our local workforce.”