In recent times we have heard about a Skills Shortage that is impacting several various industries and more particularly the Construction, Mining and Heavy Industry sector. In NSW only , we have seen a decrease in the amount of available tradesman's by at least 350000 over the last 5 years. Major Projects and Contracting firms have had to resort in employing trades and professionals from interstate and sometimes overseas to fill the employment gaps.
With the impact of the skills shortage, employers, employees and job seekers will be looking at filling the skills gaps by upskilling and developing their current skills to meet the knowledge needs required to fill gaps and gain employment.
Due to the high demand and push to upskill and develop Australians before filling the gap with overseas workers, Training Providers will be capitalizing on the current need and provide fit for purpose programs and fast tracked options to meet the skills and knowledge needs of various projects.
What does it mean for the Vocational Education and Training sector?
Well, if we look back at the last skills shortage mainly associated with the mining boom, several RTO's were providing VET Qualification ranging form AQF level 2 to 4 Qualifications at a extremely fast paced and faced tracked with RPL's. Over the coming years, several incidents were recorded due to poor training relating to the skills required. This then caused ASQA to increase the amount of audits and ultimately found several training providers were not meeting the required standard and in some cases committing fraud to be able to issues certificates that were not valid. In short several organisations were taken advantage of the situations. Organisations were also impacted by the lack of defined skills within their organisations pushing them look at fast way to recruit or upskill internal employees.
Some major improvements have been implemented to monitor compliance with the AQTF and ASQA requirements, but as Training and Development professionals we should be looking at innovative ways to adequately services the Vocational Educational and Training needs of Individuals and Organisations during a time of skills shortage without compromising the learning outcomes.
What can we do?
Several initiatives can be investigated and contextualized to meet the specific needs of a organisation, regions and communities.
Here is an examples:
Remote, Rural and Metropolitan regions are highly dependable on their local industries such as Farming, Logging and Construction etc.., each organisations is struggling to employ and retain staff due to lack of local skilled and competent workers. The employer then hires from intrastate and interstate to fill the gap. The key is to identify what are the core skills required to maintain a level of local competent workers and then develop and facilitate programs in conjunction with the organisations to meet several regional and organisational training and development needs and targets.
These could consist of:
Upskilling current employees to train, mentor and coach internal development sessions as well as provide external sessions to educate and provide the knowledge to a pool of future employees within the local and regional area
2. Enpowering the community by opening up some of their training capabilities and sessions to the region and increase the pool of competent employees - Targeted Training and Employment Campaigns
3. Introduce Trades Taster and various intro courses to professional pathways, can increase the knowledge and awareness surrounding the Vocational Education and Training - Work in partnership with regional organisations and individuals to the meet the skills requirement by facilitating targeted training sessions
So in conclusion, we already know what sort of skills shortage we are experiencing therefore should be starting to facilitate regional strategic needs assessment and work with local training providers, schools, organisations and individuals to fill the skills gap by breeding a knowledge share environment and bring people along on the training and development journey.
A holistic approach to the training needs of a Skills Shortage is the key in providing a united solutions in implementing fit for purpose training and development frameworks that meet the industries needs.
I am very passionate about Training and Development, and education and training is a fundamental part of life - We need to continue to self develop and grow our pool of skills to keep up with the ever changing technology, process and tools.
I would love to hear what other have to say or think about the Skills Shortage and what we can do increase our current pool of competent workers and avoid having half trained workers in the workforce.
Please feel free to share or comment at the bottom of the post.