Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Training today welcomed the Australian Industry Group’s report Getting it Right – Foundation Skills for the Workforce

The report highlights the critical importance of language, literacy and numeracy to Australian workplaces surveyed by the AiG and emphasised the need to continue the Workplace Language and Literacy focus in training for existing workers.

 “Across the nation we have industries in transition such as manufacturing, we have industries with emerging growth pressures such as aged care, and we have new skill demands across all workplaces with the introduction of new technologies. 

 “This means that the task of skilling and upskilling our population through our vocational education system and our workplace-based training programs is now more important than ever.

“Skilling and upskilling should have more prominence and priority than it is being given by the current Government.”

 “It is of deep concern that the Abbott Government has not included a reference to skills development in any Ministerial title and has said very little about how they will address this challenge going forward.”

Federal Labor worked very closely with industry, its national bodies such as AiG, and Industry Skills Councils to develop and improve the WELL program and its integration with other Commonwealth funded support for workplace training such as the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF).

“Federal Labor shares the view that this is critical work for the broader economy and it is the reason we have a dedicated Shadow Minister for this area.”

Ms Bird said that recent industry reports by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) and organisations such as AiG should prompt the Abbott Government to at least start engaging on this very important challenge for industries across all sectors and communities across the nation.

 “Labor made a significant commitment to skills development through the National Foundation Skills Strategy. I call on the Abbott Government to give a guarantee to continue funding these important programs.”