Western Australia Minister for Training & Workforce Development Peter Collier
State Government Skills Plan To Strengthen Workforce Development
Victor P Taffa
A series of short, medium and long term-strategies have been outlined in a State Government Plan released today to strengthen Western Australia’s position in meeting future labour needs.
Launched by Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier, ‘Skilling WA – A Workforce Development Plan for Western Australia’, details a package of targeted initiatives to address key areas.
These include emerging skill gaps, responding to skilled migration demand and labour constraints, increasing labour force participation, and increasing the vocational skills of West Australians.
“Up to 240,000 jobs are expected to be created in WA by 2017, with $220 Billion worth of Major Projects proposed, such as Gorgon, the Ord River Expansion and Oakajee.” Mr. Collier said.
“Taking into account current workers leaving the workforce through retirements against natural population growth and current migration levels, it is forecast that this will still leave a gap of around 150,000 workers required in WA in the next seven years.”
“However this growth and opportunity is not limited to major resource and infrastructure projects. Wholesale trade, professional and technical services, finance and insurance and health sectors are all forecast to grow by more than 4.5 % a year over the next four years.”
“As a whole-of-Government Document, Skilling WA Plans for this broader industry expansion, providing a framework to build, attract and retain a skilled workforce while enabling all West Australians to contribute to, and benefit from, the sustainable economic growth.”
Skilling WA Identifies Five Strategic Goals:
• Increasing participation in the workforce, particularly among the under-employed and disengaged, mature-aged workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other under-represented groups;
• Supplementing the WA workforce with skilled migrants to fill employment vacancies unable to be filled by the local workforce and addressing those factors which support a growing population;
• Attracting workers with the right skills to the WA workforce and retaining them by offering access to rewarding employment and a diverse and vibrant community and environment to live in;
• Providing flexible, responsive and innovative education and training which enables people to develop and utilise the skills necessary for them to realise their potential and contribute to WA’s prosperity;
• Planning and coordinating a strategic State Government response to workforce development issues in WA.
A key initiative relating to skills development focuses on piloting models for a more flexible and resilient apprenticeship and traineeship system to respond to changing economic cycles.
“I am also working with my colleagues at a State and Federal level to secure additional funding for training places and support services.” the Minister said.
“Training is just one issue we will address to help West Australians into the workforce, as many jobseekers face unique barriers to enter the workforce.”
“As such, a series of initiatives will be implemented to increase the participation of under -represented groups in the workforce.” Mr. Collier said.
Mr. Collier said with a significant need for more workers in WA to meet future demand, a formal agreement had been signed by the State and Federal Governments to identify, target and sponsor skilled migrants in high demand occupations over the next four years.
“The Memorandum of Understanding – State Sponsored Visa Program will allow the State to sponsor 6,000 visa applications for the 2010 Program Year.” Mr. Collier said.
“Training and preparing West Australians for the workforce is our number one priority, however targeted migration will be an important strategy in filling those high value vacancies unable to be filled by the local workforce.” Mr. Collier said.
While Skilling WA is a central feature of the Government’s commitment to workforce development, several initiatives to address future labour demands have also been announced:
• Established the Department of Training and Workforce Development to ensure a more focused delivery of training services to industry and the community;
• Developed the Training WA plan, which outlines the direction for the State’s training system from 2009 to 2018;
• Established the Ministerial Taskforce for Approvals, Development and Sustainability to facilitate better decision making on issues related to the development of the State;
• Recognised the need for the State to increase its influence on the national migration program to ensure a more integrated approach to workforce development;
• Released the ‘Training Together-Working Together’ strategy to improve training and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people;
• Moved the skilled migration centre to the Department of Training and Workforce Development to ensure a more integrated approach to workforce development.
“As we learned in the last period of economic growth, a strong resources sector can lead to other industries being crowded out in the labour market.” the Minister said.
“By taking a strategic approach to workforce planning we are committed to ensuring that the State, its industries and population are better equipped to maximise the returns from this coming period of economic growth.” Mr. Collier said.