The Western Australian Government has taken what it calls the first step in preparing the State for the next upswing in the resources industry by announcing the creation of the Department of Training and Workforce Development.
According to Premier Colin Barnett, the department is designed to ensure a more focused delivery of both education and training services to the community.
“The new department will focus on elevating training across the State and working across Government, at both the State and national level, to plan and prepare Western Australia’s workforce to avoid gaps in both skilled and unskilled labour,” Barnett said.
“We have to make training attractive and relevant and a first option for many people, especially young people.”
The new department has received strong support from the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), who said labour shortages have been a problem in Western Australia’s recent past.
“It was only 18 months ago when Western Australia was in the midst of a desperate skills shortage,” AMEC national policy manager Darren Brown said.
“We are very pleased the State Government appears to have learned from the past and is trying to develop systems to cope with the inevitable return of strong resources demand.”
Western Australia’s Minister for Training Peter Collier agrees that an emphasis must be placed on preparing and training the workforce of the future.
“Within the resources sector there are hundreds of jobs, from truck driving, geology, and engineering to IT, computer-assisted design and a range of continually evolving scientific advancements that demand ongoing education and training,” he said.