Skilled Workers in Australia Needed Post-Pandemic

July 20th, 2020 No Comments Features

One thing that is here to stay is the demand for skilled workers in Australia as the government pushes for post-pandemic recovery. According to a Productivity Commission interim report, the current number of people with qualifications at a Certificate 3 level or above “is not enough to meet a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) target of 23.6% set for 2020.” As the pandemic will likely lead to structural changes in the VET sector, the time to upskill and reskill is now.

Which areas need more skilled workers?

According to a recent ING study, one in three Australians will need to look for a new job either currently or post-pandemic, and nearly 600,000 already lost their jobs. As more jobs are being advertised in July, it’s becoming clear that the VET sector is one in-demand hot spot.

The top areas in demand of skilled workers include the following: Health Care and Social Assistance, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Education and Training and Construction. This means Aged and Disabled Carers, Registered Nurses, Child Carers, Welfare Support Workers, Software and Applications Programmers, Management and Organisation Analysts, Accountants Primary School Teachers, Secondary School Teachers, and Education Aides.

“There has always been a demand in the health care sector. Jobs for nurses, aged-care workers, the hospital support staff is likely to see a high-demand due to COVID-19,” says Mr Naishadh Gadani, a career coach and founder of Your Career Down Under in an interview with SBS Hindi. “The other prominent sector will be IT services where one can work from home. Due to current circumstances, there has been a growing demand for IT workers especially IT support staff, IT-enabled service providers and call-centre workers who can work independently from home.”

What are the VET Reforms?

In an effort to create more jobs and boost the economy post-COVID, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new reforms to the VET sector last month. The reforms are designed to tackle what he sees as three main concerns about the existing system: “First, the system is too complex and unresponsive to industry demand. Second, it does not offer clear information about the skills needed for the future. And third, the system is inconsistent between states and there is poor accountability over how money is spent.”

To resolve these issues, Morrison announced the establishment of a National Skills Committee to “provide a countrywide view of Australia’s skills needs and coordinate state VET activities.” Also on the agenda is the creation of Skills Organizations to give industries more freedom to design the type of training they’re after and to “provide a countrywide view of Australia’s skills needs and coordinate state VET activities.”

According to the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s website, the Commission will “examine options for a nationally consistent approach to funding VET qualifications. It will also drive research and analysis of future skills needs across industry to ensure the VET system addresses national labour market priorities.”

Three Skills Organisation Pilots have already been established in three key industries: human services care, digital technology and mining. “The Skills Organisations are exploring potential design, approaches and opportunities to deepen industry engagement and improve the long-term outcomes of the VET system,” reads the government release.

The hope is that the VET system will become better able to equip students with the skills that are actually needed in various industries. The current gap between in-demand skills and supply of those skills is far too wide, and VET is falling behind other education systems when it comes to preparing students for the future and boosting the economy. Specific aims of the VET reforms include supporting an additional 80,000 apprenticeships over the next five years, creating industry training hubs, investing in a Foundation Skills for Your Future Program and Remote Community Pilots initiative, and the Energizing Tasmania program which will train a skilled workforce across Tasmania in order to further boost the national economy.

Online learning platforms are starting to catch up already, offering courses in areas highlighted as high-demand by the government. It’s now easier than ever to launch a new career or gain the new skills you need for a secure livelihood—even in times of uncertainty. The future starts now.


Saga Briggs is an author at InformED. You can follow her on Twitter@sagamilena or read more of her writing here.

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