Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Minister for Education and Training

    Growing a sustainable Wheatbelt workforce

    13/09/2021 5:00 PM
    • Regional Skills Summit being held in Northam today
    • More than 30 business leaders, peak bodies, unions, government agencies and training representatives attending
    • State Government supporting unique workforce development needs of regional WA
    • Student course enrolments up by 18 per cent in WA's Wheatbelt 

    The McGowan Labor Government is hosting a Regional Skills Summit in Northam today to discuss opportunities to grow and sustain a skilled workforce in Western Australia's Wheatbelt.


    Following successful Skills Summits in Perth and Bunbury, the Northam Regional Skills Summit will generate further practical actions and new and innovative ideas that will form the basis of a local action plan to meet the region's unique workforce needs.


    More than 30 government and regional business leaders from a range of sectors including the agriculture, construction, education, hospitality and healthcare industries are attending.


    Recognising the importance of access to training for building a skilled workforce and retaining people in regional areas, the McGowan Government has been working to ensure its investment in training initiatives reaches all corners of the State.


    Student course enrolments in the Wheatbelt have increased by 18 per cent in the past year, driven by affordable training opportunities through the 'Lower fees, local skills' program and strong growth in employment based training.


    Western Australian employers have responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in the Wheatbelt in 2021, with more than 650 commencements in the year to June 30, 2021.


    Several initiatives are already progressing from the Perth Skills Summit, to attract and retain skilled workers and continue our State's strong economic growth.


    These initiatives include attracting onshore skilled migrants to fill jobs in demand in WA; supporting mature age apprentices; promoting the tourism and hospitality industry to school students to grow the workforce; extending the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive; freezing regional Government rental accommodation to attract public sector workers to the regions; boosting Aboriginal youth employment opportunities; and providing support for jobseekers experiencing disadvantage to obtain a driver's licence.


    The State Government is also progressing targeted advertising campaigns to attract interstate workers and increase participation of under-represented groups in WA; smoothing the pipeline of construction work; and a series of 10 Regional Skills Summits, including the one being held today.


    Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:


    "As a primary Western Australian agricultural region, maintaining a strong and sustainable Wheatbelt workforce is pivotal to the continuing success of our State's economy.


    "Today's Regional Skills Summit will address the demand for workers and changing skills needs in the region, with a focus on finding immediate and medium term solutions to local issues."


    Comments attributed to Parliamentary Secretary to the Education and Training Minister Terry Healy:


    "Making local training available is an important part of retaining workers and building a skilled workforce in Western Australia's regional communities.


    "Insights gathered today will be considered by the State Government to inform a local action plan to address the Wheatbelt region's skills needs."


    Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Darren West:


    "I am thrilled to be able to host one of the Skills Summits in Northam.


    "Today's event will help us gather important information on what is required to address the needs of industry, and is a fine example of the McGowan Government working with the community to solve problems."


    Minister's office - 6552 5700