Australia’s Becoming a More Skilled Nation – Review
Monday, 4th November 2013 at 9:34 am
More than half of working-age Australians have a higher level qualification, placing the nation ninth among OECD countries, a recent Council of Australian Governments Reform Council review has found.
The five-year review looked at the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development.
Deputy Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, Professor Greg Craven, said governments have made significant improvements over five years but work needed to continue to improve qualifications and importantly, employment outcomes.
“We know that skills transform lives and are the lifeblood of industry,” Prof Craven said.
“So it’s pleasing to see increases in the number of Australians with higher level qualifications, especially Indigenous Australians and those from disadvantaged or very remote areas.”
Prof Craven said the skills sector was one area where governments were starting to close the gap between the most and least disadvantaged Australians.
The report shows between 2006 and 2011 the proportion of Indigenous people with higher level qualifications rose from 24 per cent to 30 per cent.
Over the same period, the proportion attaining qualifications in the most disadvantaged areas rose from 34 per cent to 40 per cent, and the proportion in very remote areas rose from 31 per cent to 38 per cent.
Despite these achievements, the report also shows that many adults do not have the most basic literacy and numeracy skills needed in a modern economy.
One in eight 20–64-year-olds (12.5 per cent) had the lowest level of literacy and one in five (19.9 per cent) had the lowest level of numeracy.
The OECD reported that countries generally have higher incomes when they have larger proportions of adults at the highest levels of literacy or numeracy proficiency, and smaller proportions at the lowest levels.
“Improving literacy and numeracy levels is essential to improving our national productivity and wellbeing,” Prof Craven said.
“These are the foundation skills required to improve workforce participation and social inclusion.”
The Council of Australian Governments Reform Council was established by COAG in 2006 to assist COAG to drive its reform agenda.