16 March 2011

Australia Visa program vital to plan to address skills shortage

The Australian Government has developed a plan to address the growing workforce crisis in the resources sector, but industry groups say it isn’t enough.

Australia Visa

Australian Government has developed a training plan to stop skills shortages in resources sector, but industry groups say Australia Visa programs are also vital.

Under the government plan workers will be able to fast-track to full trade qualifications in as little as 18 months and $200 million will be provided for training projects for skills in high demand.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said improving training and apprenticeships wouldn't be enough, with Australia visa and immigration programs still vital.

"Immigration programs are essential to delivering skilled workers when and where we need them," she said in a statement.

The government has accepted all 31 recommendations of the Resourcing the Future report, which outlines a blueprint for lifting the number of skilled workers available to the resources sector.

Skills Minister Chris Evans said: "Under the adult apprenticeship project, experienced workers will have their existing skills recognised and be given the opportunity to complete the competencies required to get a full trade qualification in just 18 months”.

"Existing resource sector employees and workers from across Australia will be recruited and on and off-the-job training provided so companies will benefit immediately from a boost to their workforces," Mr Evans said.

Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said this was an important first step in addressing skills and labour shortages in the resources sector which will also help alleviate flow-on pressures on other industries.

"We estimate the fund will help train 39,000 skilled workers over four years and target areas of critical need for the resources, construction, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors."

The ongoing skills' shortfall in Australia was highlighted by a new study, which found growing business optimism was tempered by concerns that workforce shortages could prove detrimental to growth.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia Immigration application with the Australian Embassy

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