Governments and businesses need to urgently train more people, and retrain existing workers, with a recent survey undertaken by the state’s peak business organisation,the NSW Business Chamber, finding employers are experiencing skills shortages equating to more than 54,000 jobs state-wide.
The NSW Business Chamber’s inaugural Workforce Skills Survey, which includes the Hunter Region, measures business attitudes on employment, education and training issues, and provides a comprehensive baseline to track future sentiment.
Hunter Business Chamber CEO, Bob Hawes said connecting businesses with the skilled employees they need to grow is vital for thefuture of the economy.
“Our inaugural Workforce Skills Survey was designed to gather detailed intelligence about employers’ pain points, where our training system is meeting their needs, and where it is failing.
“Across the state, the record $70 billion infrastructure pipeline presents an unmissableopportunity to upskill the next generation, making it alarming that more than two thirdsof construction businesses responding to the survey reported a shortfall in skills.
“At a time when high youth unemployment has reached crisis levels in some areas of NSW, it is also troubling to see indications of a mismatch between what employersexpect from their staff and what our education system is currently producing.
“While employers report high levels of skills shortages, on the other side we also haveconcerning levels of youth unemployment.
“On the positive side, employers demonstrate a good level of confidence in ‘learn andearn’ pathways, with nearly three quarters of respondents who have hired anapprentice or trainee saying they would do so again.
“Taking on a training worker is, however, a worthwhile but often costly and timeconsuming exercise for a business, and the survey highlights the need to provideemployers with more support in on-boarding and retaining training workers.
“The administrative burden is a real deterrent, with employers finding it difficult to navigate the system and find the right information despite the wealth of materialavailable.
“This makes it all the more urgent for the NSW Government to ‘go public’ with the outcomes of its review of apprenticeships and trainee ships and invest in a campaign to educate and excite employers, parents, careers advisors and young people about VET pathways.
Businesses in the Hunter also affirmed other key findings of NSW Business Chamber’s recent Laying the Foundations for Apprenticeship Reform research,prioritising work readiness training, boosting incentives for the early stages, and targeting employer support as strategies that will help build employer confidence and encourage them to create opportunities for young people looking for a start.
“The Workforce Skills Survey serves as a very useful temperature check on employers’ skills needs, as well as insights into what Government needs to do in response,” Bob said.
“Governments should see these results as a call to action.”
IMAGE|A recent survey from the NSW Business Chamber identified the need to focus on training in the Hunter.