Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Minister for Education and Training

    Regional Skills Summit series wraps up in Albany

    6/12/2021 2:40 PM
    • Final in series of 10 Regional Skills Summits (RSS) being held in Albany today
    • More than 40 business leaders, peak bodies, unions and training representatives attending, bringing total RSS series attendance to around 350 people
    • State Government supporting unique workforce needs of regional WA
    • Low fee course enrolments up by 17 per cent in the Great Southern region

    Western Australia's Great Southern region is today hosting the last of a series of 10 Regional Skills Summits hosted around the State by the McGowan Government since August 2021.


    Local business and government leaders are meeting in Albany to generate innovative ideas and practical actions to grow the skilled workforce in the Great Southern region.


    Today's summit fulfils a commitment by the McGowan Government to take its series of Skills Summits State-wide before Christmas.


    Strong industry representation throughout the Regional Skills Summits has seen total attendance for the series reach more than 350 people.


    Around 40 government and regional business leaders from a range of sectors are attending today's summit including the Great Southern region's biggest employing industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing, health care and social assistance, retail, education and training, and construction.


    Insights from the summit will form the basis of a local action plan to meet the region's unique workforce needs.


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


    Great Southern locals are snapping up affordable training opportunities offered through the State Government's 'Lower fees, local skills' (LFLS) initiative, with a 17 per cent increase in LFLS enrolments in the region this year.


    Employers have responded by taking on more apprentices and trainees in the Peel region in 2021, with commencements up by more than 98 per cent in the 12 months to September 30, 2021.


    The McGowan Government recently expanded the LFLS program by a further 30 courses from 2022 to include a total of 210 courses with heavily reduced course fees in priority industry areas including hospitality, health care, construction, retail and others.


    Workers in industries which have a critical need to upskill workers, including childcare, aged and disability care, and civil construction, will be able to access low fee existing worker traineeship places to help meet the skills needs of these sectors.


    The new initiatives respond to workforce issues raised by industry leaders at the Perth and Regional Skills Summits held to date and are jointly funded through a $103.5 million agreement between the State and Commonwealth Governments under the expanded JobTrainer Fund agreement.


    Other initiatives progressing from the Perth Skills Summit 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 Reengagement Incentive, freezing regional government rental accommodation to attract public sector workers to the regions, and boosting Aboriginal youth employment opportunities.


    The State Government is also providing support for job seekers experiencing disadvantage to obtain a driver's licence, progressing targeted advertising campaigns to attract interstate workers and increase participation of under-represented groups in WA, has smoothed the pipeline of construction work, and has run the series of 10 Regional Skills Summits wrapping up in Albany today.


    Fostering strong links between regional TAFE colleges, government, industry and the education sector, the VET Regional Partnerships Program also continues to grow. With a focus on creating more apprenticeships and traineeships in regional WA, the program supports the Government's plan to increase the number of jobs in regional WA by 30,000.


    Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:


    "Today's Regional Skills Summit in Albany completes a thorough, State-wide examination of the unique skills needs of regional WA.


    "Our Government has now heard directly from industries across the State about their ideas to increase the capability of their local workforces and to fill local jobs."


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


    "Through local action plans for each region, our Government and industry will continue working together to progress ideas from the summits.


    "Thank you to all who have shared their ideas or are involved in actions to enhance their local workforce."


    Comments attributed to Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens:


    "I am really pleased to be hosting the final Skills Summit here in Albany.


    "Having worked as a training and careers manager before entering Parliament, I know that it is critical for business to work alongside government and the broader community to ensure we have enough local people to fill local jobs."


    Minister's office - 6552 5700