As we approach the coming federal election, the national employer association Ai Group and the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) jointly urge all sides of politics to support the creation of a tripartite Skills Forum to solve Australia’s skills crisis.
The Skills Forum establishes as a three-way partnership between industry, universities and government to drive the national skills agenda. It helps to secure Australia’s skills future and realise Australia’s potential through practical and sustainable actions and reforms. This is a shared challenge and opportunity that we are ready to address with the help of the next Government.
Australia’s workers and businesses need a coherent skills strategy that can quickly plug urgent and persistent skills gaps in the economy with a balanced and fair pipeline of domestic and international workers.
This must be supported by reforming post-school education so that universities can flexibly meet emerging and priority skills need through the innovative and adaptive ways our universities are pioneering.
Together with the Government, we can balance the needs of Australian workers, migrants, businesses, regions, and the workforce to create a system that is high-quality, targeted, measured and responsive.
The Skills Forum and the challenges it must address are outlined in the joint Ai Group and ATN statement released today – available at this link.
Professor Iain Martin, ATN Chair and Vice-Chancellor Deakin University:
“ATN universities pride themselves on their student and industry-focused teaching, learning and research. Partnering with Ai Group to help guide the next Government’s approach to skills is a natural extension of that approach.
“A three-way partnership between universities, industry and government is a crucial part of the integration of international education, and delivering better outcomes for industry, students and the economy.
“Using this ‘triple helix’ approach, the focus on student outcomes would be sharpened to include opportunities for work integrated learning, part-time work and ultimately improved graduate outcomes.”
Innes Willox, Chief Executive of Ai Group:
“Without a concerted effort to expand the supply of skills in targeted growth occupations, skill shortages will remain a significant break on the economy. Making stronger connections between industry, universities and the Government is critical to creating a sustainable skill pipeline that will enable Australian businesses to innovate and grow.
“With strong growth prospects for many sectors of the economy we need to act now to ensure that current skill shortages do not derail that relatively positive outlook.”