TAFE is doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to
providing the skilled workers the economy needs.
As Australia's economy continues to power from strength to strength,
one of the biggest constraints to its continued growth is a
lack of skilled workers. More so than other institutions, TAFE
is equipping students with skill sets that growing industries require.
The big headache for Australian employers is not attracting
"white-collar professionals", but recruiting those with
technical and trade skills. According to the Department of Education,
Employment and Workplace Relations, only 61 per cent of vacancies for
technicians and trades were filled in 2011/12, and there were less
than two suitable applicants (1.7, to be exact) per vacancy for these
types of jobs.
The situation is even more dire in certain industries. For example,
an employer advertising for 10 automotive trades workers last year
would, on average, have had only nine qualified people apply and would
have been able to fill only four of the positions.
According to the latest government data, the skills shortage is
particularly acute in the following fields:
TAFE is doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to providing
the skilled workers the economy needs.
[quote]It's not the nation's universities that are pumping out the
mining electricians, chefs, mechanics and childcare workers that
Australia is in desperate need of.[/quote]
Private colleges also play a role in producing graduates with trades
and technical skills, but they focus on providing lucrative, glamour
courses such as fitness instructor certification.
A recent study undertaken by Christopher Stone for the Centre for
Policy Development found 29 per cent of TAFE students in Victoria were
being trained to fill jobs in industries affected by the skills
shortage as opposed to less than 20 per cent of students at private
With TAFE facing funding
cuts in several states, Stone emphasised the vital role the vocational
education and training (VET) sector plays in creating a skilled
workforce, commenting, "By providing skills to the economy, VET
has been estimated to provide a strong return on investment."