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.
Education and training policy must view the system holistically rather than in silos. The layers of the system are merging – more schools have preschools, more schools have vocational education and training (VET), upper levels of VET are similar to lower levels of higher education and employment outcomes require a better approach to training and apprenticeships.
Each sector is influenced by funding differences. The more holistic the system, the better it will operate. The roles and responsibilities of federal and state governments need to be clearly identified, and a plan for stronger industry engagement across the employment, education and training system put in place.
A broader approach is needed to promote educational exports. These exports include international students studying at university, school and in VET sectors, and educational activities in other countries, including those linked to aid funding.
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.