The Australian Industry Group has welcomed a new government report aimed at “upskilling” the Australian workforce.
The Futures Focus: 2013 National Workforce Development Strategy released recently, is an important step in developing a path to the necessary skills of the future, said Ai Group Chief Execuitve, Innes Willox.
Developed by the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency, the report identifies seven key areas of improvement, including skills development to position Australia as a knowledge economy.
A main focus of the report is the urgent need to raise the levels of language, literacy and numeracy in the workplace.
Mr Willox said too often Australia lags behind other countries in gaining a competitive edge through a highly skilled workforce.
“This Strategy clearly asserts that Australia will need a larger, more highly skilled and qualified workforce to keep pace in a competitive, technology-driven future, where accelerating rates of change will be the norm, he said.
"If we are to make opportunities out of current and emerging challenges including the digital economy and the Asian century and if we are to turn around our lagging productivity performance, we need more than ever before a skilled and capable workforce.”
Mr Willox said the report “gives us a roadmap for our long term skills development.”
“In so doing adds weight to the vital importance of skilled migration, including 457 visas, in supporting our economy in the short and medium term," he said.
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Bowen MP, also welcomed the report.
Mr Bowen said: "This strategy is an important national update on the pathway to building a better and more skilled national workforce, and aligns with this Government's commitment to a more productive and prosperous nation.
"High quality training and education underpins our goals of boosting productivity and developing a culture of innovation.
"This report will help to inform future policy and ensure our record investment in skills and training is well directed."
Future Focus is an update of the 2010 report Australian Workforce Futures, which was the first National Workforce Development Strategy.
The report is available at: www.awpa.gov.au