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Businesses keen to be part of work on vocational education - EMA

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It is critical that the centralised model proposed in today’s Reform of Vocational Education announcement is flexible and adaptable enough to address the immediate and future needs, says the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA).

Chief executive, Brett O’Riley, adds the EMA has always been supportive of closer links and collaboration between vocational education providers and businesses, and is hopeful the Reform is evidence of this approach.

"As with all significant policy proposals the devil will be in the detail and the consultation phase will be critical to understand what businesses need and how they can work with providers to meet the desperate need for the right people with the right skills," says Mr O’Riley.

He believes time taken now to ensure it is the right system will be time well spent.

"The Government spends around $1 billion on vocational education a year, but in a rapidly changing environment, that is not delivering the skilled and productive workforce we currently need," he says.

"We also face critical challenges in the future of the workplace posed by rapid technology advances and the ageing workforce.

"That reinforces the need for flexibility and adaptability, and we already have an understanding of this through close relationships with a number of education providers who are members.

"In moving to the proposed more centralised system we also need to ensure that we don’t lose the flexibility to meet different skill requirements in specific specialist industries or in certain regions of the country.

"Our members are also very keen to play more of a role in helping meet the skills gap by providing these insights and opening their own doors to those needing work experience, apprenticeships and other training opportunities," Mr O’Riley says.

The EMA is also pleased to see the imbalance that has developed between the focus on tertiary and vocational education being addressed.

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