Training system must catch up to industry

·2-min read

Australia's need to improve its skills development programs has been described as the "golden thread" of the federal government's two-day jobs summit.

More than 140 attendees from business, union, community and government sectors gathered for the final day of the summit in Canberra on Friday.

A common theme emerging is the need for training and further education programs to be upgraded to help skill people for the future labour market.

High paying, highly skilled jobs of today and into the future are digital, the Australian Industry Group head Innes Willox said.

"We need a national strategy that includes digital capabilities, standards and a framework that supports the digital transformation and enablement of our economy," he told the summit.

"Industry knows this but the education and training system is just catching up."

Mr Willox described the golden thread running through the government's summit as the need to train and upskill more Australians.

Getting more women into the workforce will not be just about carving out a few education courses, Business Council of Australia head Jennifer Westacott said.

"It's about a fundamental premise that the skills system has to be designed to address the skill gaps and close the access problems for women across many sectors," she said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Wednesday an additional 180,000 fee-free TAFE places will be created by 2023 as part of a major training package.

But teacher shortages in TAFE courses are also a crucial issue to be addressed.

The head of TAFE Directors Australia Jenny Dodd said while the government's fee-free initiative was helpful, more needed to be done to address the shortages.

"Our biggest challenges are recruitment of staff, in particular teachers ... and access to practical and clinical placements to grow our student numbers," she said.