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Australian government pledges to fix gaps in tech training

Minister responds to report identifying shortfall of 42,000 training places in higher and vocational education

The Australian government has pledged to fix “gaps” in technology education and training. 

Industry minister Ed Husic made the promise in response to a report from the Tech Council of Australia that said the nation should aim to have 1.2 million technology jobs by 2030. 

The report, published on 2 August, identified a shortfall of around 42,000 training places at universities and in vocational education. That shortfall was for “entry-level” workers, with up to 100,000 existing workers needed to move across into technology roles. 

Around 585,000 technology workers with university degrees will be needed by 2030, it said, adding that skilled migration would be needed to supplement training. It pointed out that women continued to be underrepresented on university technology courses, at only 10 per cent. 

National training commission

The report came as legislation to create a national training commission, to be called Jobs and Skills Australia, was introduced to parliament. The body, which will replace the existing National Skills Commission, will “provide advice on the skills and training needs of workers and employers” and “undertake the workforce forecasting and prepare capacity studies for new and emerging industries and contribute to the planning for a pipeline of skilled workers”, skills and training minister Brendan O’Connor told parliament on 27 July. 

The bill is now being considered by the Senate Standing Committees on Education and Employment, and submissions to the inquiry close on 19 August. 

Universities Australia said the commission’s focus on working with education providers was “welcome”. More than half the jobs to be created in Australia over the next five years will require a university degree, the vice-chancellors’ group said.

A national Jobs and Skills Summit will run on 1 and 2 September in Canberra, with an “issues” paper on training and employment due soon. Husic told a Tech Council of Australia event on 2 August that he planned to convene an “industry roundtable” to discuss sector issues ahead of the summit.