Calls for Cross-Sector Collaboration to Fix Skills Shortage
4 February 2019 at 8:20 am
The Foundation for Young Australians is calling for urgent action on a looming skills shortage, which they say will leave the country with major social and economic problems if not quickly dealt with.
The foundation’s CEO, Jan Owen AM, said despite a $91 billion investment by state and federal governments in education and training, 70 per cent of the skills young people were currently learning would be redundant by 2030.
Describing the mismatch between skills supply and demand as one of the most pressing economic challenges facing Australia, she told Pro Bono News the country lacked a plan to deal with the looming problem.
“What Australia is lacking is a framework or agenda and it needs to be a 2030 plan. It needs to look at 10 years from now… what we need to do and what we need to put in place,” Owen said.
She said a different approach to learning was needed so that current and future workers had the skills employers needed and the cultural competencies required to thrive.
“This includes foundational skills, technical or job specific skills, career management capabilities and enterprise skills – often called ‘soft’ or ‘21st century’ skills,” she said.
The foundation said the first step was bringing together a range of people from the education, employment and government sectors to figure out a plan and figure out what the gaps were.
“We suspect there’s a lot of innovation and a lot of ideas but also we don’t even know what the gaps are because there is no cohesive plan or story,” Owen said.
“Without an integrated approach we are likely to end up with even greater problems, with employers, education and training providers, workers and the national economy all losers.”
She said it was also important to give young people a role in the decision making as they offered a different perspective to the discussion.
“They have very really specific ideas about what we should be redesigning and some of the things we could look at differently to enhance their opportunities,” she said.
As part of it’s Future Skills Framework 2030, FYA proposed a National Future Skills Symposium, to bring together the key players together to create an agreed platform for action.
Owen said this was not an issue that one sector could solve, and encouraged everyone to “pitch in” and push it to the front, as it was an issue that wasn’t going to go away any time soon.
“We need to join forces and collaborate on some of these big issues particularly ahead of an election,” she said.
“Business as usual is not an option.”