Summit held to tackle workforce shortages in Goldfields-Esperance
A regional Skills Summit was held in Kalgoorlie earlier this week, bringing together more than 40 business leaders, peak bodies, unions and training representatives in front of the WA Government to support the unique workforce development needs of regional WA.
Goldfields-Esperance business leaders shared new ideas and opportunities to grow the local skilled workforce at the summit. Insights gathered during the Summit will form the basis of a local action plan to address changing workforce needs in the region, with a focus on local solutions for local issues.
More than 40 government and regional business leaders attended from a range of sectors including healthcare and social assistance, education and training, accommodation and food services, public administration and safety, construction and retail.
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) played an important role in the discussions, not only for its role in supporting those in other sectors and industries to be available for work, but also for its own challenges in attracting and retaining sufficient talent to service demand.
While Goldfields-Esperance locals are snapping up affordable training opportunities offered through the State Government’s Lower fees, local skills (LFLS) initiative, with a 26 per cent increase in LFLS enrolments in the region this year, the Summit acknowledged that training opportunities were a vital component of building a skilled workforce and retaining staff in regional areas.
Employers have responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in the Goldfields-Esperance region in 2021, with commencements up by more than 80 per cent in the 12 months to July 31, 2021.
There are now more than 200 courses with heavily reduced course fees in priority industry areas including early childhood, train driving, veterinary nursing, crane operations, surveying, laboratory technology, wool classing, hospitality management and others.
For those who are already working in industries and sectors with high demand, and a need to continue to upskill, such as ECEC, low fee existing worker traineeship places have been made available to help meet the skills needs of these sectors.
Other initiatives progressing from the Perth Skills Summit include:
- attracting onshore skilled migrants to fill jobs in demand in WA;
- supporting mature age apprentices;
- promoting the tourism and hospitality industry to school students to grow the workforce; extending the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive;
- freezing regional Government rental accommodation to attract public sector workers to the regions; and,
- boosting Aboriginal youth employment opportunities.
The State Government is also providing support for jobseekers experiencing disadvantage to obtain a driver’s licence; progressing targeted advertising campaigns to attract interstate workers and increase participation of under-represented groups in WA; has smoothed the pipeline of construction work; and is running a series of 10 Regional Skills Summits, including the one held in Kalgoorlie.
“Training Western Australians to fill jobs in demand is the centrepiece of our State’s economic recovery and maintaining a strong and sustainable workforce in the Goldfields-Esperance region is pivotal to our continuing success,” said WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery.
“Through our Skills Summits, we are listening to industry and implementing initiatives to address their workforce needs,” Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training Terry Healy added.
For more information about the Lower fees, local skills (LFLS) initiative please see here.