Vocational Learning Pathways to Employment

5th December 2019

RDA Orana Director of Regional Development Megan Dixon believes that incorporating more vocational learning into education would benefit pathways to employment in Australia.

“We need to look at how we train people to gain on the job experience while they are undertaking study,” she said.

A report issued by the Department of Jobs and Small Business shows that employers have had difficulty filling construction trade vacancies and that 71 per cent of applicants were deemed unsuitable due to their lack of qualifications or insufficient experience. The automotive trade is driven by supply and demand in the repair and maintenance sectors with employers struggling to fill only 31 per cent of vacancies.

In engineering professions, there was high demand due to the large volume of infrastructure and construction projects. However, there was a lack of relevant qualifications and additional credentials, industry work experience and specialised technical skills. Employers found shortages across all the engineering trades except welding.

“Demand for the engineering trades has been underpinned by a high level of construction and growth in the manufacturing sector,” Mrs Dixon explained.

“There are themes around applicant suitability. Experience is a big factor and getting on the job experience.”

Mrs Dixon pointed to the model that Charles Sturt University (CSU) has adopted with its engineering degree providing a work-ready cadet engineer through a diverse, agile curriculum.

“The CSU Engineering Course offers students a unique combination of group-based campus learning, paid work placements and online tuition.

“CSU actually partners with businesses to provide the support of a network of academic staff to ensure that cadet engineers have the knowledge and training that’s required to fulfil their role.”

From an industry perspective, potential business can engage a work-ready cadet with the ability to foster opportunities through networking and ongoing professional development.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said a common perception is that university is the only option to get the skills and qualifications you need to find a good, well-paying job with a bright future.

“University isn't the only option and we want to make sure young people explore opportunities and realise their potential.

“There are definite advantages to choosing an apprenticeship or undertaking skills training with so many careers on offer - from aerospace to agriculture, building and construction, business and finance, education, engineering, health, hospitality and information technology. And we need to get the message out there that this is a viable option to choose.”

Find more information about industry opportunities HERE