The Australian Government has allocated $402 million over the next four years to establish Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) to help address skills shortages and broader workforce challenges.

Formerly known as Industry Clusters, the new JSCs will have a strong connection to Jobs and Skills Australia, aligning with the Australian Government’s vision for new industry engagement arrangements.

Led by industry, the JSCs will bring all parties to the table to find solutions to the workforce challenges and skills needs currently facing industry sectors across Australia. This commitment to tripartite leadership will bring together employers and unions that work in partnership with governments and the training sector.

Among the industries to receive funding from stage one of the grant opportunity process including mining – covering industries involved in mineral exploration and extraction operations – and energy, gas and renewables, covering the industries of electricity, gas, renewable energy and storage or the use of resources in the production of energy, as well as emerging industries include hydrogen.

JSCs will work in partnership with Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) and operate as a national network of industry-owned and industry-led organisations, working collaboratively to improve system responsiveness, build stakeholder confidence and drive high-quality outcomes for the VET sector, learners and business.

The new Councils will identify skills and workforce needs for their sectors, map career pathways across education sectors, develop Vocational Education and Training (VET) training products, support collaboration between industry and training providers to improve training and assessment practice, and act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting their industries.

Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, said the approach represented a fundamental shift in the way industry engagement is undertaken in the VET sector and will help the Australian Government to tackle one of the greatest economic challenges in decades, namely the lack of skilled workers.

This is a fundamental shift in the way industry engagement is undertaken in the VET sector and will tackle one of the greatest economic challenges in decades, namely the lack of skilled workers.

Mining and Auto Skills Spotlight

The Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA) will lead the way in addressing skills shortages in the critical resources and automotive sectors as one of the nation’s new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs).

Data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the nation’s mining sector has the greatest proportion of vacant positions as the skills crunch hits a new record high.

The figures suggest 5.2 per cent of jobs in the mining sector were vacant in the three months to September, an increase from 3.3 per cent in the March quarter of 2020.

Chief Executive, Dr Gavin Lind, welcomed the announcement and said work would begin immediately to fortify the two sectors that contribute significantly to Australia’s jobs, exports, revenue and lower emissions targets.

“The strength of Australia’s resources and automotive sectors is critical to our nation’s economic, social and environmental future, and we will improve collaboration between industry and training providers and act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting their industries,” Dr Lind said.

“We recognise the critical role the vocational education and training (VET) sector plays in supporting Australians to access secure, well-paid jobs, and we will improve the speed to market of qualifications ensuring training products are aligned to the skills in demand in the resources and automotive sectors to increase workforce productivity and deliver more learners into jobs.

“It is our role as a JSC to provide industry with a stronger, more strategic voice, and to assist the Australian Government to deliver a collaborative, tripartite training system that brings employers, unions and governments together to find solutions to skills and workforce challenges.”

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