How sad and ironic it is that “bosses (are pleading) for relief to fill skills gap” (Australian 19/4). It is sad because the advance of Australia in so many retail, hospitality, commercial and manufacturing sectors are in ‘slo mo’ when it comes to moving forward, for want of skilled personnel. In a burgeoning number of cases and especially in remote areas, any body at all would do because workers are in such shores supply.
The situation is ironic because in past times educators and those in decision making positions, have chosen to minimise the value of the TAFE/VET sector, thereby discounting the value of blue collar skills. This has included an undermining and devaluing of apprenticeship programs. Only now, is Australia becoming aware of the need for critical skills that will not come from those qualifying locally for some years to come.
Years ago, Australia threw this training out the door, deciding that the only option was for people to go to university and study for full degrees. May authorities learn from the mistakes made, reinstate full for apprenticeship and occupational training, and never again discount the need to prepare Australians for work readiness.