Page 1151 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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them grow and innovate. Workers benefit from better quality, more rewarding jobs with higher rates of pay. And our community benefits from a highly productive economy which attracts new businesses and workers.

That is why training and attracting workers with the right skills calls for co-investment by government and business. The ACT government plays a central role in supporting the training, reskilling and upskilling of workers. We are investing $126.3 million into skills in 2022 alone, a record level of investment for the territory. Our demand-driven approach to Australian apprenticeships ensures that industries with skills needs can access significant government financial support. The ACT Building and Construction Training Fund Authority also provides financial incentives when a business employs an Australian apprentice from a target cohort or in high-demand trades.

We also help to attract skilled workers to Canberra through our suite of economic development initiatives and campaigns. The Canberra Switched On statement highlighted the unique qualities and progressive values that make our city a great place to live and work.

We recognise that employers also play a central role in growing the ACT’s skilled workforce. Supporting workers to undertake tailored and relevant on-the-job training can boost engagement while strengthening the skills and capabilities that make them more productive. As we continue to shift our focus towards knowledge-based economic growth, the ACT government particularly welcomes industry input on ways our training system can better encourage and enable co-investment in workforce development.

In particular, we want to develop more detailed action plans for strengthening skills and workforce development in each of the future growth sectors that I have highlighted today. We want employers and leaders in these key sectors to tell us more about where the gaps are: the current skill gaps in our local workforce and the gaps in training opportunities with our local providers. If there is a course or program that will contribute to meeting those needs, we want to hear about it so that we can work with providers through our funding frameworks to get these up and running. Skills Canberra will be reaching out proactively in the coming months to talk directly with industry about how we can best do this. Government and industry are co-investors in building a skilled workforce, so we want to hear ideas and plans for strengthening that investment from both sides.

Our fourth and final priority is strengthening skills sector foundations. The Australian skills sector has undergone huge structural and policy change over the past decade. ACT skills and training providers have needed to change and adapt as major shifts in investment, progressive waves of reform and new skills priorities have impacted the sector. As we rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge is to bed down good reform and ensure that all parts of our system are working with the right incentives and objectives.

The next national skills agreement between the commonwealth and the states and territories provides an opportunity to strengthen national and local skills sector

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