SOUTH-west leaders have had the opportunity to influence national education policies to address future skills requirements at a high-level forum in Warrnambool.
Industry, education, employment and training, government and municipal leaders from across the region attended the Engaging Employers at the Regional Level – Great South Coast Policy Forum.
Hosted by Westvic Staffing Solutions, Warrnambool City Council and the Federal Government, the forum highlighted the need for a strong Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and apprenticeship opportunities.
Assistant Federal Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews attended, and said the forum was about the government seeking feedback on key issues.
“You will be directly able to have input into our policy direction as a result of today’s discussions,” she said.
She stressed the need to improve the status of VET “which has for too long time been seen as the poor cousin of training”.
“It’s not true that vocational education is the second cousin because a lot of people go straight into jobs,” she said.
“We need a groundswell of support to promote that.
“We are interested in your views about training, how it’s delivered and whether it responds to the needs of our young people and why we aren’t getting their engagement.”
Westvic Staffing Solutions chief Dean Luciani said he was confident the discussions would have an impact on policy formulation. He said the forum was an opportunity to showcase to the government how the region promoted apprenticeships and VET and to look at how best to support young people and businesses.