Warn­ing over skills short­age

South Western Times - - News - Emily Ace

IN­VEST­MENT into the trades is needed now to avoid a short­age of skilled work­ers in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to The Ap­pren­tice and Trainee­ship Com­pany chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Stan Liaros.

“Re­cent an­nounce­ments about the min­ing sec­tor gear­ing up again is a stronger rea­son for con­cern at a lo­cal level, be­cause when they ramp up, what they will be look­ing for is skilled labour,” he said.

“We need more in­vest­ment in the trades area to en­sure that our skills lev­els are main­tained for what­ever our econ­omy throws as a chal­lenge to us as far as growth is con­cerned.”

Fig­ures from the Depart­ment of Train­ing and Work­force De­vel­op­ment show the to­tal num­ber of ap­pren­tices and trainees in WA fell 10 per cent in the year to March, from 39,629 to 35,631.

Mr Liaros said gov­ern­ments or ma­jor stake­hold­ers in in­dus­tries needed to en­cour­age em­ploy­ers to take on ap­pren­tices and bol­ster the num­ber of skilled work­ers.

“We need al­most a broad brush ap­proach to en­cour­age the en­gage­ment of youth, but also the en­gage­ment of em­ploy­ers to ac­tu­ally take on and train youth,” he said.

“When it’s lean is the best time to ac­tu­ally be train­ing peo­ple to get them pre­pared for when in­dus­try ramps up again.”

South Re­gional TAFE man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dun­can An­der­son said there was no in­di­ca­tion to sug­gest “ma­te­rial change” in the re­gion, but the col­lege had crit­i­cal in­dus­try links to en­sure it was “po­si­tioned to sup­port skills re­quired now and into the fu­ture”.

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