The WA State Government’s series of Regional Skills Summits reached Kununurra today, with local business and government leaders meeting to discuss opportunities to grow the skilled workforce in the Kimberley.
The first of two Regional Skills Summits to be held in the region, the Kununurra-Kimberley Regional Skills Summit will generate further practical actions and new and innovative ideas to address the region’s unique skills needs. A second Kimberley Regional Skills Summit is scheduled for Broome on Monday, 15 November.
More than 25 government and regional business leaders from a range of sectors including the healthcare and social assistance, education and training, accommodation and food services, public administration and safety, construction and retail industries are attending. Recognising the importance of access to training to build a skilled workforce and retain people in regional areas, the State Government has been working to ensure its investment in training initiatives reaches all corners of the State. Kimberley locals are snapping up affordable training opportunities offered through the State Government’s Lower fees, local skills initiative, with a 34 per cent increase in enrolments in the region this year.
The State Government is also 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.
Western Australian employers have responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in the Kimberley in 2021, with commencements up by 51 per cent in the 12 months to 31 July 2021.
A range of initiatives are already progressing from the Perth Skills Summit, to attract and retain skilled workers and continue our State’s strong economic growth.
These initiatives 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 Reengagement Incentive;
- freezing regional Government rental accommodation to attract public sector workers to the regions;
- boosting Aboriginal youth employment opportunities; and
- providing support for jobseekers to obtain a driver’s licence.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery says “Regional Western Australia is vital to our State’s economic prosperity and today’s skills summit, along with another planned for Broome, will help provide a current picture of the Kimberley’s unique workforce and training needs. Our Government is keen to hear from business leaders about practical actions that can be taken in the Kimberley to help fill local jobs. Ideas and discussions captured at the Summit will inform a local action plan to address the Kimberley’s changing workforce needs, with a focus on local solutions to local issues.”