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Business Chamber puts election spotlight on skills training

Release Date: 20/03/2019
Providing the skills and training needed to tackle high youth unemployment and skills shortages should be a top priority of the next state government, the Hunter Business Chamber says.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s NSW election, Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the incoming government would need to address perceptions of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and provide more flexible pathways that promote the value, importance and opportunities provided by trades training. 
“This is significant issue in the Hunter where on one hand we have firms crying out for skilled tradespeople, yet on the other we see double-digit youth unemployment rates across the region,” Mr Hawes said. 
The NSW Business Chamber is calling for additional measures to help address this issue, which include:
  • a new $100 million dollar youth re-engagement fund to get young people back into training and in work;
  • a target of 20,000 school-based apprenticeships and traineeships to be delivered over the next four years; 
  • funding of Career Advice Hubs that provide contemporary industry careers advice; and,
  • creation of a sharper, more efficient TAFE 2.0 with improved enrolment processes; streamlined student assessments and more contemporary course content addressing key skill requirements.
Mr Hawes welcomed the skills-related campaign announcements made to date, including the Government’s new-jobs target of 250,000 and Labor’s promise of free courses in key skills shortage areas, but said a stronger commitment to restructuring vocational training was needed from both sides.
“If we want to skill the workforce of the future we need to be doing far more for the 60 per cent of school leavers who don’t go to university,” Mr Hawes said.

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