Employment, Education and Training
Education is at the heart of a civilised society, and access to labour and skills are a cornerstone of a strong economy and productive businesses.
Australia’s education and training system is well regarded, but it needs to become more efficient so it can continue to deliver the skills needed by a modern economy. Migration, including temporary skilled migration, helps our economy grow and adapt.
It is important that policy relating to education and training addresses the system holistically, rather than in silos. The layers of the system are merging. More schools have preschools, more schools have VET, upper levels of VET are competing against lower levels of higher education, employment outcomes require a better approach to training and apprenticeships - to name but a few areas of overlap. Behaviour within each sector is influenced by funding changes and different regulatory approaches, and this needs to be well managed and coordinated to minimise negative consequences.
Across the whole system, there is a need to:
- More clearly identify the respective roles and responsibilities of federal and state governments;
- Have a integrated plan for facilitating stronger industry engagement
- Reduce the administrative complexity for employers.
- Provide relevant and timely information to students, job seekers and workers to improve the outcomes of their choices.
- Develop a strong evidence based approach to labour force analysis and forecasting.
- Better work with industry sectors to address their specific needs
A stronger vision and broader approach is also needed to promote educational exports, not just by concentrating on international students at university, but also the opportunities in the school and VET sectors as well as the considerable potential for educational services delivered in-country.
New jobs are created by a conducive economic environment, and business leadership and innovation. Beyond these, a government-funded employment service can create job opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged job seekers.
Employers value the vocational education and training (VET) system given its emphasis on job skills required in modern workplaces. VET needs to be industry-driven and responsive. Its efficiency and effectiveness are undermined by the lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities brought about by issues of federation.
Schools are the bedrock of every person’s education. School attendance, preferably to year 12, and post-school education deliver the best economic and health outcomes for individuals. Schools need to help the best and brightest students achieve their potential, and also ensure that no student is left behind.
Australia must have a positive and robust skilled migration program, alongside career and workforce development to help Australians obtain suitable jobs.
There are more than 1 million students in higher education. Given the uncapped demand-driven higher education system, students and universities need to be well informed about career options and future labour market needs. Policy should seek to optimise the quality and the quantity of graduates, with a focus on employability skills. Industry needs a stronger voice in determining teaching and learning standards.