COVID skills reduction in WA

COVID skills reduction in WA

A growing skills shortage in the mining and manufacturing sectors is threatening the State’s economy, according to a skills summit held by the State Government.

The summit addressed the need to support a pipeline of skilled workers in WA after reports of shortages in addition to the impacts of COVID-19.

“With low unemployment and international border restrictions, we are experiencing growing demand for skilled workers to fill local jobs and support our businesses,” Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said.

Training skilled workers is critical for the future of WA and new initiatives address the need for training and attracting skilled workers.

Premier Mark McGowan said the Skills Summit was about generating new ideas on how industry and government could work together to address the workforce challenges.

As a result of the summit, more priority initiatives were announced to attract and retain skilled workers in WA as part of the Government’s continuing work with industry and training providers to address skilled worker needs.

Key initiatives included:

  • 100 places for local mature-age apprentices brought forward;
  • Work underway to attract up to 5,000 onshore skilled migrants from interstate to WA;
  • A multibillion dollar infrastructure program to be reviewed with a view to smoothing the pipeline of work to ease workforce pressures; targeted advertising campaign to attract interstate and New Zealand skilled workers and increase participation of under-represented groups in WA;
  • Boost to Aboriginal youth employment opportunities and enhanced support for jobseekers to obtain driver’s licences;
  • Regional Skills Summits set to take place throughout WA.

The ABS National, State and territory population report said WA had the second-highest rate of net interstate growth in 2020 after Queensland.

This was after WA shielded itself from the greater effects of COVID-19 in 2020.

“Our economy is strong and together we have defied the economic turmoil seen throughout much of the world. We will continue to be agile and responsive to industry’s challenges and deliver continued strong results for the WA economy,” Mr McGowan said.

The State Government is pushing to attract new workers with targeted advertising campaigns for interstate and New Zealand workers.

Barriers to employment to Aboriginal jobseekers aged 15-24 will be addressed and assisted with a new partnership between the State Government and Wirrpanda foundation to boost Aboriginal youth employment.

“As well as these immediate actions, the concepts that came from the skills summit will shape further planning, strategy and decisions to assist WA’s workforce needs,” Ms Ellery said.