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ACCI welcomes skills shortages focus.



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MEDIA RELEASE

MR 101/04

www.acci.asn.au

L E A D I N G A U S T R A L I A N B U S I N E S S

Wednesday 22 September 2004

ACCI WELCOMES SKILLS SHORTAGES FOCUS

Statement by Peter Hendy, Chief Executive

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia’s largest business organisation representing over 350,000 businesses nationwide who employ over 4 million people, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minster of a strategy to address skills shortages including the establishment of a new Institute for Trade Skill Excellence.

These initiatives will go a long way to addressing the increasing difficulty employers have in sourcing skilled employees.

ACCI’s recent Pre-Election Survey of 1685 businesses found that that 79 per cent of employers are concerned about their ability to recruit employees with appropriate skills and our July 2004 Survey of Investor Confidence reported for the first time in its 14 years, that the Availability of Suitably Qualified Employees was now the number one constraint on future investment decisions.

Allowing the business community to play a more proactive role in the national training system is a recognition that the solution to skills shortage issues lies with greater employer engagement.

Business needs to have greater input into promoting proven employer-responsive training providers. Post-secondary education and training must be made more business centred and demand driven so that students are better qualified to take their place in the Australian labour market.

The business community also welcomes the recognition that further education outside of university is not and should not be regarded as some sort of second-class education and training option.

The new Institute of Trade Skills will be critical element of this improved national approach which should provide:

• an industry led arrangement which specifically targets occupations which are the primary trades-related skill shortages areas; • development of pathways with public and private providers but linked closely to the choice of employers over training provider selection; and • clearer and more accessible information for students, their parents and teachers.

Today’s announcement also recognises the costs that employers face in relating to engaging apprentices. The assistance provided to apprentices to purchase equipment will be welcomed by business and particularly young people.

For further information: Peter Hendy Chief Executive (02) 6273 2311 / 0419 422 650

Steve Balzary Director, Employment and Training (02) 6273 2311 / 0418 215 732 Brett Hogan Director of Communications (03) 9668 9950 / 0407 273 884