Key regional stakeholders in the Goldfields-Esperance region have formed an alliance with the aim of tackling the region’s critical workforce and skill shortage.
Goldfields-Esperance Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich and Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan jointly announced the alliance and applauded the strategic efforts of those involved in actively developing a co-ordinated approach to assist in addressing these issues.
“The Goldfields-Esperance Workforce Development Alliance (GEWDA) has representatives from the Curtin University of Technology’s Vocational Training and Education Centre (VTEC), Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission, Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy, and the Resources and Infrastructure Industry Skills Council (RIISC), along with key local industry representatives,” Ms Ravlich said.
“Unemployment rates within this region are at historic lows, consistently under the State levels, and this has created an exceptionally tight labour market.”
The Minister said there was an urgent need to identify positive actions that could be taken locally, while informing and shaping government policy in this area.
“The establishment of the GEWDA and the development of a Regional Workforce Plan are key steps forward,” Ms Ravlich said.
Mr McGowan said a priority action of the GEWDA was the formation of a partnership between the Department of Education and Training and the State Training Board to develop a 10-year Regional Workforce Plan.
“An amount of $80,000 has been allocated for the plan, which will investigate the key industry sectors of mining, agriculture, metals and electrical trades, as well as the services sector,” Mr McGowan said.
“The Carpenter Government has allocated $54million to transform the training system through a number of avenues, including infrastructure, increasing apprenticeships and traineeships, upgrading equipment and other programs.”
The GEWDA will be chaired by State Training Board regional representative Bill McKenzie.
Ms Ravlich said a recent investigation by the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission highlighted that there continued to be significant unmet demand within the region for skilled professionals, including engineers and tradespersons such as fitters and machinists.
The immediate task of the alliance was to quantify the existing and expected skill and labour shortfalls within the Goldfields-Esperance region.
The Minister said the initiative would increase the understanding of those factors that impacted on the capacity of key industry sectors to attract and retain a suitable workforce.
“There is a need to better understand what strategies might be developed to encourage workers and their families to remain in the Goldfields-Esperance region,” Ms Ravlich said.
The Goldfields-Esperance Workforce Plan is scheduled for completion in mid-December 2007.
Office of the Minister for Goldfields-Esperance - 9213 6800
Office of the Minister for Education and Training - 9222 9111