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 First Jobs and Skills Council – Skills Insight Opens to Address Agribusiness Workforce Needs

The Albanese Government has launched its inaugural jobs and skills council (JSC) to address workforce challenges in the agribusiness sector. Known as Skills Insight, this tripartite body will play a crucial role in identifying skill gaps, mapping career pathways across education sectors, and developing vocational education and training (VET) programs.

Skills Insight, an industry-led and owned organization, will foster collaboration between the industry and training providers to enhance training and assessment practices. Additionally, the council will serve as a source of intelligence on agribusiness matters.

Skills Insight: First Jobs and Skills Council to Address Skill Shortages in Priority Industries

The first JSC will not only cater to primary producers but also focus on other sectors such as textiles, clothing, footwear, forestry, timber, and furnishing. This council will collaborate closely with jobs and Skills Australia to gain a thorough understanding of the skills required in these industries.

The collaboration is crucial because there is an urgent demand in rural and regional Australia for skilled cropping, livestock, aquaculture, and forestry workers. Furthermore, there is a national shortage of agricultural and forestry scientists and agricultural technicians, which further compounds the workforce challenges in these sectors.

As its primary task, Skills Insight will develop an initial workforce plan for the industry sectors it covers. This plan will establish a critical path to prioritise and address workforce challenges during the council’s first year of operation.

The Albanese Government is currently establishing an additional nine Jobs and Skills Councils, all of which are expected to be operational by mid-2023. These councils will focus on other industries and address their respective workforce needs.

Learn more about the other jobs and skills council by reading Australia’s VET Sector Gets a Boost with Jobs and skills councils.

Government’s Commitment to Skills Development

Brendan O’Connor, minister for skills and training, emphasised the government’s commitment to equipping Australians with the necessary skills for well-paid and secure employment, with the VET sector, particularly TAFE, playing a central role. He believes that Jobs and Skills Councils like Skills Insight hold the privilege and responsibility of shaping and directing the skills sector, providing essential leadership and advice. By doing so, they contribute significantly to developing a skilled workforce for agribusiness and the broader economy while also instilling trust in the VET sector.

Albanese Government Offers Fee-Free Places in Agriculture Courses and Expands Apprentices Priority List

The Albanese Government is taking additional steps to support the agriculture industry. This year, it will offer 13,200 fee-free places in agriculture courses, enabling more students to pursue accessible vocational training and education. Furthermore, the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List will be expanded to include careers in agriculture, processing, and veterinary fields.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Emergency Management, Senator Murray Watt, stressed the importance of the workforce in the agriculture sector, acknowledging that nothing in the industry can be accomplished without the hardworking individuals who drive it. The government is actively engaging with the sector to address workforce needs, enhance skills, and ensure that regions can access the workers they require.

Skills Insight Complements Agricultural Workforce Working Group’s Efforts to Address Workforce Needs

Skills Insight will complement the efforts of the existing tripartite Agricultural Workforce Working Group, which has been operational since the Jobs and Skills Summit. This working group, consisting of industry representatives, unions, and government officials, has already made progress in establishing principles for a national labour-hire licensing scheme to protect farm workers from exploitation.

With the launch of Skills Insight the Albanese Government is taking decisive action to address the agribusiness sector’s workforce challenges. By prioritising skills development and industry collaboration, the government aims to create a thriving future for Australian agribusiness while ensuring the stability and growth of the wider economy.

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