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Skills shortages a major issue for businesses in the Southern Highlands

03/09/2019 12:19 PM | Anonymous

SKILLS SHORTAGES A MAJOR ISSUE FOR BUSINESSES IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

Businesses in the Southern Highlands have reported experiencing a skills shortage, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey released by the NSW Business Chamber.

Released today to coincide with the start of National Skills Week, the survey has also found the state-wide workforce shortage has widened significantly, with job vacancies growing from 54,000 in 2017 to 82,000 in 2019.

Of businesses surveyed in the statistical region of the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, half indicated that the skills shortages experienced were in trade skills and 78 percent of businesses indicated that skills shortages were increasing workloads for existing staff.

Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that the survey results highlight the need for a greater emphasis on training the next generation in order to sustain the region’s economic growth.

“This widening workforce and skills gap will hamper our economy unless action is taken to address the mismatch between the skills young people are obtaining and the skills businesses require,” said Mr Zarth.

“We are also concerned about rising levels of youth unemployment in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven statistical region, which has risen to 18.7 percent in July, up from 9.4 percent in April, after a period of improvement,”

“We see a key area of underperformance as being in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, where Queensland is delivering almost four times as many as NSW,”

“Locally, only 3.8 percent of businesses operating in the region reported employing a school-based apprentice or trainee, so we are calling for these to be doubled across the state each year,”

“Sixty percent of businesses said that the education system was not adequately equipping young people to enter the workforce, so we are also calling for industry-based career advice for students and parents starting in year nine for all schools in NSW,” Mr Zarth said.

Key survey findings can be found at: https://www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/Issues/Issues/Workforce-Skills/Recent-submissions-and-publications  

Media Contact: Adam Zarth – 0404 146 829

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