Shorten Reveals Jobs Plan
18 May 2015 at 10:16 am
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has unveiled his plan to boost employment in Australia, saying science, technology, engineering and maths will be the central jobs of the future.
In responding to Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s Budget, Shorten aimed to tackle the common perception that he is void of policy ideas.
Shorten said people with skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, or STEM, would be well positioned to succeed in the future.
He said that his government would deliver a two part plan to upskill teachers as an urgent priority, and create a pipeline for STEM qualified teachers.
“As our economy restructures and responds to technological change, it is vital all Australians are skilled to be able to participate, to secure jobs today and well into the future,” Shorten said.
“Three out of every four of the fastest growing occupations will require skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Targeted investment across the education system to improve skills, increase participation, drive creativity and innovation, and uplift our competitiveness is vital to empowering our most important resource: the creativity and genius of the Australian people.
“Digital proficiency will be a foundation skill, as important as reading and numeracy. It will increasingly be the determinant of employment prospects and opportunity.”
Shorten said if he was elected next year he would ensure that computer programming and digital technologies – coding – is taught in every primary and secondary school in Australia, by a teacher who has been trained in coding.
“Labor will work with the states and territories, teaching bodies, school systems and the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to examine the best way to lift the status of coding to a core skill that is part of learning from the start of schooling,” he said.
Shorten said employment in STEM occupations was projected to grow at almost twice the pace of other occupations.
“A Shorten Labor Government will give the next generation of Australians an incentive to study science and a head start in their working life, free of student debt,” he said.
“Labor will provide a financial incentive for students to enrol in and complete a STEM undergraduate degree, in recognition of the significant public benefit of growing Australia’s STEM capacity.
“Labor will offer 20,000 STEM Award Degrees every year for five years, which upon graduation will see the entire students HECS-HELP debt written off. These students will graduate HECS debt free.”