The WA State Government is in Broome today, hosting the second Regional Skills Summit for the Kimberley region.
Building on the success of the Kununurra—Kimberley Regional Skills Summit in October, the Broome—Kimberley Regional Skills Summit will generate further practical actions and innovative ideas to grow the local skilled workforce.
Insights from the two Kimberley Summits will form the basis of local action plans to meet the region’s unique workforce needs.
Around 40 government and regional business leaders from a range of sectors are attending the Broome summit, including the region’s biggest employing industries of 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 State Government has been working to ensure its investment in training initiatives reaches all corners of WA.
- Kimberley locals are snapping up affordable training opportunities offered through the Lower fees, local skills (LFLS) initiative, with a 21 per cent increase in LFLS enrolments in the region this year. The LFLS program was recently increased by a further 30 qualifications available from 2022, to include a total of 210 courses with heavily reduced course fees in priority industry areas including hospitality, healthcare, construction and retail.
- Employers have responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in the Kimberley region in 2021, with commencements up by more than 72 per cent in the 12 months to 31 August 2021.
- 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.
These 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 Reengagement 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. It has also smoothed the pipeline of construction work, and is running a series of 10 Regional Skills Summits, including the two held in the Kimberley.
Fostering strong links between regional TAFE colleges and government, industry and the education sector, the VET Regional Partnerships Program also continues to grow. With a focus on creating more apprenticeships and traineeships in regional WA, the program supports the Government’s plan to increase the number of jobs in regional WA by 30,000.
“Regional Western Australia is vital to our State’s economic prosperity and today’s Skills Summit, along with the previous one held in Kununurra, will help provide a current picture of the Kimberley’s unique workforce and training needs.” said Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery MLC. “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 Summits will inform local action plans to address changing workforce needs in the Kimberley, with a focus on local solutions for local issues.”.