In this blog post on 23 May, "Mining for Skills" blogger Lincoln Crawley wrote:
In an interview last year, ACTU President Ged Kearney said that a chronic underinvestment in vocational education and training by employers and governments over the past decade has brought Australia to this point – an ever-increasing skills gap. In the same article, Deliotte's national partner of human capital, Lisa Barry, poised the question: "Who owns the gap?"
That's a good question – is it government, individual companies, educators? Does one Australian region 'own' the gap more than any others? Is it really just a talent war where individual companies scramble for their own talent and once they've got it, they don't need to worry anymore?
I believe that training and development can't exist in a vacuum. Without collaboration with industry groups, companies and government, training programs will not be as effective as they could be.
At the moment, most training in the resources sector is not hitting the right people, nor is it linked to employment outcomes. We're also not training people up with the skills most needed right now in the industry.
The government has laid the groundwork for action on resource sector skills shortages, but there is a long way to go. The National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce is a step in the right direction. But for this taskforce to be effective, some fundamentals need to be put in place first.
One of those elements is co-operation between government departments. Solving a skills shortage isn't just about education, vocational training, immigration or industrial relations: it's about all these things. To deliver a real and workable outcome, these portfolios need to work across state borders and department lines.
It's time to go beyond finger pointing about who is stealing workers from whom and which companies aren't contributing enough to training programs. Ownership, when it comes to a skills gap, doesn't rest with one company, or one government. From my perspective, it would seem we all have a stake in this industry, so if the gap gets wider, we'll all have trouble bridging it.
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