To strengthen Australia’s skills sector and address workforce challenges, the Australian Government establishment the Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs). Led by industry experts and aligned with Jobs and Skills Australia, these councils will bring together employers, unions, governments, and the training sector to solve skills shortages and enhance industry engagement. With an investment of $402 million over the next four years, the government aims to tackle the country’s lack of skilled workers.
A Tripartite Approach to Workforce Challenges
Under the new structure, the JSCs will adopt a tripartite leadership model, encouraging collaboration between employers, unions, and government bodies. This cooperative approach recognises the importance of diverse perspectives and expertise in addressing the workforce challenges faced by various industry sectors across Australia. By fostering strong partnerships, the JSCs aim to facilitate effective workforce planning, identify skills needs, and develop training pathways that align with industry requirements.
Ten Industry Groupings
The initial phase of the Grant Opportunity process has yielded ten industry groupings that the JSCs will cover. These groupings encompass a wide range of sectors, including:
1. Agribusiness: Encompassing primary production, textiles, clothing, footwear, forestry, and timber industries. This grouping also includes emerging industries related to natural resources security and environmental management.
2. Arts, Personal Services, Retail, Tourism, and Hospitality: Covering a broad range of human services such as hairdressing, floristry, travel, and hospitality. Additionally, this grouping addresses the creative economy, including fine art, ceramics, music, dance, theatre, and screen industries and emerging industries in online sales.
3. Energy, Gas, and Renewables: Focusing on electricity, gas, renewable energy, and energy storage industries, emphasising emerging sectors like hydrogen.
4. Finance, Technology, and Business: Encompassing professional services that support successful businesses, including marketing, accounting, human resources, digital literacy, and information and communication technologies. This grouping also includes emerging industries such as cybersecurity, financial technologies, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
5. Manufacturing: Covering manufacturing and engineering industries, as well as light manufacturing sectors like pharmaceuticals, print, food, and advanced manufacturing. This grouping also addresses emerging industries in defence and space technologies.
6. Mining and Automotive: Encompassing mineral exploration, extraction operations, and the automotive industry. Emerging industries in driverless automotive technologies are also part of this grouping.
7. Transport and Logistics: Addressing warehousing, distribution operations, and various modes of transportation, including rail, maritime, aviation, and logistical support. Emerging industries include omnichannel logistics, distribution, air and space transport, and logistics.
8. Public Safety and Government: Focusing on industries directly involved in public services, such as local government, police, corrective services, and public safety.
9. Early Educators, Health, and Human Services: Covering community services and support sectors, including aged care, disability services, mental health, early childhood education, health, and sport and recreation services.
10. Building, Construction, and Property: Encompassing property services, small and large-scale construction services, traditional building, and large-scale civil infrastructure services.
Collaboration with Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA)
The JSCs will partner with Jobs and Skills Australia to align workforce planning for their respective sectors. This collaboration will involve determining job roles, identifying skills needs, and developing training pathways. By combining industry-specific intelligence with JSA’s forecasting and modelling, the JSCs aim to ensure that the Australian workforce has the necessary skills required by the industries.
Improving the VET Sector
The introduction of JSCs signifies a significant shift in industry engagement within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. The councils will act as a national network of industry-led organisations, collectively improving system responsiveness, enhancing stakeholder confidence, and delivering high-quality outcomes for learners and businesses.
Their key responsibilities will include:
- Identifying skills and workforce needs.
- Mapping career pathways.
- Developing VET training products.
- Improving training and assessment practices.
- Providing valuable industry intelligence.
The Australian Government’s investment of $402 million in the Jobs and Skills Councils demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the country’s skills sector and addressing workforce challenges. By bringing together industry representatives, unions, governments, and training providers, the JSCs aim to bridge the gap between skills shortages and industry needs. Through their collaborative efforts, these councils will play a vital role in ensuring Australia’s workforce is equipped with the right skills for the evolving job market, ultimately driving economic growth and prosperity.
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