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Skilling the existing workforce

Thursday, 11 Dec 2008 ( #390 ) - Canberra, ACT, Australia
Local News Story
AIG chief executive Heather Ridout says it is vitally important to underpin our investment in skills so that we can survive the economic crisis and emerge to be more productive in the future.
There’s a growing trend for companies to turn to their existing workforce to meet their skilling needs.

An Australian Industry Group (AIG) report launched this week highlights the changing nature of workplace training and makes recommendations for government policies to support business training efforts.

AIG chief executive Heather Ridout says the report was begun two years ago in an economic climate characterised by sustained growth and endemic skills shortages. "Two years on, this report is being released into a different and very uncertain environment; the economy is contracting and there is extreme pressure on budgets, particularly training budgets."

She warns companies not to repeat the mistakes of the past in training. "Skills will remain central to competitiveness and it is vitally important to underpin our investment in skills so that we can survive the economic crisis and emerge to be more productive in the future."

The project identified that workplaces are becoming increasingly important sites of learning. Companies are using their own resources or working in partnership with education and training providers, workplace trainers, facilitators, and through change management and continuous improvement processes.

Skilling the existing workforce has become a major priority across industry.

The report’s recommendations include:
• Developing a workforce skills development advisory network in which independent advisors would work with enterprises.
• Establishing a workforce skills development fund.
• Establishing a national workforce literacy strategy.
• Building understanding and capability in Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) of workforce skills development.
• Increasing priority for investment in workplace and organisational learning programs.
• Continuing to advocate and support flexible, demand- and outcomes-based funding.
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