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Engaging Employers and Developing Skills at the Local Level in Australia

image of Engaging Employers and Developing Skills at the Local Level in Australia

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.

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Assessment and Recommendations

Providing equal opportunities for individuals and workers to gain the skills demanded in the local economy is critical to create a vibrant labour market. At a macro level, Australia’s economy performs well and has an unemployment rate below the OECD average. But there are challenges to sustain economic performance over the long term. Notably, there has been a decline in apprenticeship participation since 2012. The total number of apprenticeship commencements in the financial year 2011-12 were 376 800 while they dropped to around 162 600 in 2016-17. Several regional economies in Australia are undergoing significant structural adjustment. This downward trend is most prominent in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland.

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