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A new approach to tackling skills shortages in trades.

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6 April, 2004 MIN 673/04

Today I am announcing a National Skills Shortages Strategy to address skills shortages in critical industries throughout Australia and also a ‘one-stop shop’ web based site for students, parents and industry on skill shortage careers:

The new Strategy will take an industry approach to skill needs and tackle many of the significant disincentives which can turn young people away from choosing trades as a career.

Under the new Strategy, there will be greater flexibility in traditional trade training. New approaches to New Apprenticeships in key skill shortage industries will be tested, such as shorter apprenticeships in the building and construction and automotive retail service and repair industries, and specialised apprenticeship pathways in the housing sector of the building and construction industry.

In addition to working in partnership with key industries such as engineering, energy and utilities, skill shortages on a regional basis will be addressed. Local communities are facing skill shortage as a result of the introduction of new industries, or the departure of existing ones, resulting in the need for communities to "reinvent" themselves through training, education and employment.

Industries will be encouraged and assisted to "adopt a school" - regularly meeting with school students and their careers advisers and teachers to broaden their understanding of trade industries. I will also meet annually with New Apprentices in traditional trades to obtain feedback on what encourages or discourages those considering careers in the trades. Their insights will help dislodge outdated views that trades are "dirty, dangerous and difficult".

Through "fast tracked" training programmes involving people with relevant existing skills, mature-age workers, parents returning to work, and people looking for a career change will be especially targeted towards New Apprenticeships.

The Government recognises the importance to Australian industry of having a workforce with the right skills to ensure continued competitiveness. Under the Strategy, the

Australian Government will also review the quality and usefulness of labour market forecasting, with a robust data base to be used for the development of industry-specific skills policy.

The National Skills Shortages Strategy is the next phase of the Government’s vital work in partnership with industry and local communities to address current and future skills needs and to assist the 70% of students who do not go directly from school to university.

The Howard Government is committed to ensuring that all young people find and achieve their potential, through the training, educational or vocational path which best suits them.

Attached are Fact Sheets detailing the Strategy initiatives.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Laila Lacis 0412 040 034

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet 1 (1MB) Fact Sheet 2 (1MB) Fact Sheet 3 (1MB) Fact Sheet 4 (1MB) Fact Sheet 5 (1MB) Fact Sheet 6 (1MB) Fact Sheet 7 (1MB) Fact Sheet 8 (1MB) Fact Sheet 9 (1MB)