Hope for skills-short resources sector

THE Rudd Government’s pledge to deliver 450,000 extra training places over four years will help relieve the anticipated skills shortage of over 50,000 staff per year in the resources & infrastructure industries, says SkillsDMC.

The new federal policy will come into effect in April 2008 and see $1.372 billion invested into a new, industry-led system. Industry Skills Councils such as SkillsDMC will work with employers to assess what skills are needed now and in the future, and work together to fill the ‘gap’ with tailored, competency-based training.

SkillsDMC is the national industry skills council for the drilling, mining, quarrying and civil infrastructure sectors. It was previously known as the Resources & Infrastructure Industry Skills Council.

“The new skills policy will be the first time enterprises can focus on outcome, demand-based training to specifically fill areas of their business that are skills-short,” says Des Caulfield, SkillsDMC chief executive officer.

“Today, over half a million people work in the resources and infrastructure sectors. However, with an ageing workforce causing an annual attrition of approximately 5-6% and increasing global demand, 50-60,000 experienced workers are needed each year.

“To fill this gap, and keep up with projected production increases, training is paramount and an essential component of a long-term solution to the skills shortage,” he says.

SkillsDMC works with industry stakeholders and enterprises to assess the skilled personnel companies will need up to 10 years ahead.

SkillsDMC’s free ‘Future Workforce Manager’ tool helps to project these needs, taking into account factors such as commencing new operations, retiring employees, labour turnover and increases in market demand. It was developed following years of research and consultation with industry.

“To make the most of the new training places, organisations need to identify what their workforce needs are now and what they will be in the future. The new government policy will allow organisations to resource training places in areas of need, rather than industry trying to recruit trainees and students from VET courses.

“This will deliver skilled employees to organisations and greater workforce participation to the economy,” Caulfield adds.

“Training is the simplest, fastest and most-effective long-term solution to the skills crisis. Employers who carefully measure their workforce needs and employ nationally-recognised training will ensure the viability of their workforce and business today and as the shortage continues to tighten,” Caulfield explains.

Des Caulfield


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