A new era for skills

Over the past six months, the Victorian Skills Authority (VSA) has worked to develop its first Victorian Skills Plan. This Skills Plan provides a ‘skills roadmap’. It represents a new approach to connecting industry, learner and community insights and provides evidence for the provision of training and skills across Victoria aligned to current and future job needs.

It identifies actions and the further work needed to build a robust skills base and shape the next generation of skills delivery strategies.

The Skills Plan focuses on the occupations and skills that industry and workers need and are delivered by the TAFE and training system, Adult Community Education and Higher Education.

With evidence drawn from more than 60 local, national and global sources, enhanced through more than 100 consultation forums with industry, employers, unions, education and training providers and learners, the Skills Plan:

  • delivers industry-validated insights on the scale and form of the issues facing Victoria
  • provides clear direction on the response required, and
  • identifies priority actions to improve the training and skills sector.

Key insights from stakeholders

  • Industries and regions are facing significant labour shortages, mostly due to COVID-19 impacts but some pre-dating the pandemic.
  • Employment growth has been, and will continue to be, concentrated in workforce-intensive industries linked to population growth.
  • Industry is overwhelmingly positive about future growth but constrained by the lack of labour and skills shortages.
  • Some industries are having to take on workers to fill critical vacancies even though they may not have the right skills. This is adding pressure to other staff, including supervisors.
  • The care economy is facing specific challenges meeting labour and skills needs, resulting in competition for the same workers across aged care, mental health, disability support and allied health.
  • Many businesses are already gearing up for the shift to the ‘clean economy’ while others are uncertain of their training needs.
  • Small but critical occupations can have a significant supply chain impact if in shortage.
  • Both full qualifications and skill sets are valued by employers.
  • It is not just an education response that is required to meet labour shortages. Other factors are also at play, including the cost of housing, transport and poor wages or working conditions.
  • Advances in digital technologies and platforms are transforming the expectations of many occupations. While this is not translating into an overall loss of jobs across the workforce it is changing the nature of many jobs.
  • Vocational education needs to provide a richer base of the knowledge that underpins practice. Many industry representatives acknowledge they carry responsibility for building ‘experience’.
  • The system is difficult to understand and the key parts – Adult Community Education, TAFE and training and universities – are siloed, making it hard to move from one to the other.
  • Learners want better information to support their decision-making.