The McGowan Government's rescheduled Skills Summit is being held today in Perth, as early positive results from a number of immediate skills measures put in place earlier this month can be revealed.
The Summit is an opportunity for business leaders and other industry players to work collaboratively to develop immediate and longer term strategies to address skills needs impacting the Western Australian economy, with Premier Mark McGowan, Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery and other Cabinet members joining industry leaders from a range of sectors including the resources, construction, agriculture, defence and healthcare industries.
After the Skills Summit was postponed late last month due to the COVID-19 lockdown, a number of immediate initiatives were put in place to begin addressing workforce needs, with positive early results achieved.
- The new $5.2 million Jobs and Skills WA Adult Apprentice Employer Incentive to provide eligible businesses with up to $26,800 when they hire a mature age apprentice has also been fully subscribed, with all 100 places available this financial year now filled.
- The extension to the Apprentice and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive has also seen a marked increase in enquiries from employers and trainees.
- The expansion of the State Nominated Migration Program, which enables temporary visa holders already in Australia to fill positions not being met by local workers, has seen thousands of expressions of interest from workers around the country.
- The partnership between Tourism WA and training council FutureNow has been formalised, with a number of programs to encourage young people to pursue careers in tourism and hospitality.
The State Government expects additional initiatives to address WA's skills needs will be announced following the Skills Summit. These measures are in addition to the McGowan Government's major investments over the past four years towards restoring and revitalising the State's training sector - including slashing TAFE fees, introducing free short courses and delivering the biggest TAFE infrastructure build in WA history.
There are more than 86,000 students in vocational education and training courses in WA; a 25 per cent increase compared to last year. WA employers have also responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in 2021, with apprenticeship and traineeship commencements up by 72 per cent in the past 12 months.
"Today's Skills Summit is about generating new ideas on how industry and government can work together to address the current workforce challenges we are experiencing." said Premier Mark McGowan. "Western Australia is in an enviable position, with a thriving economy and a low unemployment rate, amid a global pandemic. It is very encouraging to see the initiatives we implemented last month are already having a positive impact in addressing skills needs. I look forward to hearing directly from industry leaders on how we can continue to collaborate to address these challenges and enable the WA economy to continue on its strong trajectory.".
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said "Due to significant investment by the McGowan Government, we are training like never before. In our first term a key commitment was to make training more affordable for all Western Australians and we have built on that coming back into government. But as we continue to deal with the impact of pandemic we need to remain agile and look at new ways to keep the economy moving which is what today is all about.".