The urgent review of skills, training and workforce development announced by Premier Mark McGowan this week will provide important opportunities for industry to engage about skills needs during the COVID-19 recovery period.
The necessary public health precautions that were put in place to fight the coronavirus severely disrupted many businesses, forcing many to re-think the way they do things, as well as their resulting current and future skills needs. This thinking has been complicated by both international and interstate travel restrictions, which are likely to compel businesses to recruit locally for some time to come.
This review will seek to identify the skills needs of industry, the availability of those skills in Western Australia and, where there are gaps, how we can re-train local workers with these skills as quickly as possible.
Performed well, this review should be a win-win for West Australian businesses and workers. WA businesses will have the skills they need to drive recovery, and local workers will have the skills they need for the jobs that are available.
If this review is to deliver to its potential, it needs industry to engage. Our understanding is that this will not be a typical government review that takes months, if not years, to complete and is delivered with pages of recommendations and, sometimes, a shelf to sit on. The aim is for it to be responsive and nimble, providing advice and recommendations to government for implementation as it goes.
If there are positives to be found in the current crisis, the development of a local workforce that fully meets the current and future skills needs of WA industry is one we would all celebrate.
We encourage industry to engage with this important review.