Engaging Employers and Developing Skills at the Local Level in Australia

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Local vocational education and training programmes serve as a valuable educational pathway to improve the transition from school to work. Within the VET system, quality apprenticeship programmes can provide employers with a skilled workforce that is more agile in a rapidly evolving global economy while also supporting new employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups.

This report focuses on how to better engage employers in apprenticeship and other work-based skills development programmes aligned with growing sectors of the local economy. A key part of this report was the implementation of an employer-based survey, which gathered information from over 300 Australian employers about their skills needs and barriers to apprenticeship participation. The report also provides information on four case studies, including Sydney Metro and STEMship in New South Wales, Collective Education in Tasmania, and the Dream, Believe, Achieve programme in Queensland. The case studies demonstrate how local organisations are building stronger business-education partnerships.




Australia has a healthy labour market, and this applies to the young people as well. The overall unemployment rate was 5.6% in 2017, which was below the OECD average of 5.8%. The share of youth (aged 20-24 years) not in employment, education, or training (NEETs) stood around 12% in 2017, which compares favourably to the OECD average of 15%. At the same time, globalisation, automation, and digitalisation are changing labour market demands, as well as the skills required of people entering employment. As the Australian job market evolves, it will be critical to ensure that the education system is well-connected to industry to facilitate smooth transitions from school to work.


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