Australia is faced with a skills shortage and will miss out on cashing in on the resources boom if the federal government doesn't invest in trade training, says the chair of Skills Australia.
Phillip Bullock, who heads the independent advisory body, said 12 million new workers had to be trained before the end of 2025 to meet growing demand.
"If we continue with current levels of investment there's a high chance we will not meet demands (of the) growth in the economy," he said at the launch of the Skills for Prosperity report in Sydney recently.
"Without significant reform, we risk missing out on many of the opportunities presented by the resources boom and face the prospect of becoming less competitive in the global economy."
The report, the most comprehensive review of the vocational education and training system in two decades, recommends increasing subsidies, extending scholarships and establishing a workforce development program to improve the skills of trainers.
All vocational courses up to certificate III would be fully subsidised under recommendations in the report.
For Certificate IV and above, the report recommended a partial public subsidy, with co-funding between individuals and governments, supported through an income contingent loan.
The report said the sweeping overhaul was "vital to future growth and prosperity" and would cost $12 billion over the next eight years.
Federal Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans, in Sydney for the report's launch, said the government was determined to deliver reforms.
"We need to give every Australian every opportunity to get the training they need to access higher skilled and well paid jobs," Senator Evans said.
"Building a responsive training system is vital if Australia is to achieve a globally competitive edge."