Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews today called on the mining and minerals industry to bolster its support for Australia's VET sector.
Speaking at the Minerals Industry Education Summit today Minister Anrdews said Australia's minerals sector is one of the country's largest users of vocational education and training services, and the ongoing employment of skilled graduates would help support future industry growth.
“In 2016, there were around 92,000 program enrolments in the Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package (RII), which is the main VET qualification for the minerals sector,” Minister Andrews said.
“Our young people need high quality training and jobs, and our industries needs highly skilled workers.
“VET is about putting these two things together to enable growth and innovation, and our VET providers are delivering real skills for real careers.
“The Government recognises the vital role of VET to empower people and the economy, creating opportunities and offering real skills for real careers.”
Minister Andrews said that the partnership between the minerals sector and the VET was critical, and industry feedback was guiding the creation of training products tailored to industry needs.
“It is vitally important VET graduates have the skills and competencies that industry needs, so they can succeed in some of Australia’s most recognisable businesses, such as Rio Tinto and Peabody Energy,” she said.
“The mining and minerals sector is world-class and continues to grow, fuelled by increased urbanisation in Asia and ongoing government investment in infrastructure here in Australia as well.”
The Government’s Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) is central to efforts to build a workforce for the future, and is expected to boost apprenticeship numbers in Australia by 300,000 in collaboration with the states and territories.
Minister Andrews stressed the importance of continuing this work.
“We’re ready to work with the states to target areas of skills shortages and to deliver an estimated $1.5 billion to VET as part of the five year SAF program.
“The close relationship between industry and the VET sector helps to guide the shape of course offerings and the skills which apprentices and trainees learn.
“At the same time VET providers help supply the industry with the job-ready workers they need, equipped with the right skill sets. It is a win-win partnership, and critical to Australia’s future economic growth.”
Minister Andrews also highlighted the flexibility of VET training pathways as a solution for the sector to gain workers with the right skills, by encouraging students and current employees to upskill, re-skill and develop expertise in a particular area by completing just a few units of competency, rather than a full qualification.
“This is key for the minerals industry as it creates a more flexible, mobile and adaptable workforce.
“A world-class VET sector, focused on skills and innovation, is one of the key pillars of the government’s commitment to Australia’s future prosperity.”