Since the Skillset Workforce SkillForce360 jobs growth campaign launched a month ago, there have been over 80 new jobs placed within regional NSW…. we’re 22% of the way to our goal already!
What are the reasons behind creating 360 new jobs?
Are we trying to provide our youth with jobs? Contribute to a more skilled workforce for the future? Or are we aiming to assist our local businesses with attracting the skills they require to remain strong in the rapid changes of our current time?
Whilst we’re achieving all of the above, the greatest aim for SkillForce360 is to foster our regional communities to grow and prosper, and educate businesses on the importance of training and upskilling to address the nationwide skills shortage.
Earlier this year, the NSW Government launched the Fee-Free Apprenticeships initiative for over 120 different courses to help address the states skills shortage. Statistics show that NSW will need another 50,000 skilled construction workers in the next 12 months alone. Basically, there’s no better time to think about career choices and take on this opportunity.
With so many options available, why is it that young people are reporting to find it harder than ever before to find jobs following graduation, yet the government has announced a major skills shortage and demand for workers?
So what exactly is a skills shortage?
The ‘skills gap’ is a term used to describe not the lack of job applicants, but the difference between the skills that employers want, as shown by their job advertisements, and those that are available from workers looking for a job.
What actually defines a skilled worker?
A skilled worker is any worker who has special skill, training, knowledge and ability in their work. They may have attended a college, university or technical school, or may have gained their experience through on the job training.
When discussing a skills shortage, we refer to Australia’s lack of trained or qualified workers. Recent studies show that Australia’s rate of Year 12 completion is lower than both Europe and America, with the average school completion rate at 83%. Further, 38.2% of these school completers are not continuing in education or training. Of the people that continue onto further education, around 1 in 5 will drop out within the first few weeks due to lack of engagement, information and stress overload or inability to see a beneficial end result.
For this reason, apprenticeships offer a many advantages for workplaces. Majority of university or college degrees are heavily focused on academic learning with very minimal practical application, whilst apprenticeships are focused on developing knowledge supported by useful, on-the-job learning which also allows apprentices to earn a wage whilst training.
So how do businesses better equip themselves to deal with the ever changing trends?
During a former discussion with business futurist and innovation expert, Craig Rispin, he emphasised the substantial changes coming in what has been named as the 4th Industrial Evolution.
“The upcoming industrial evolution won’t just change what we do, it’ll change us as humans”.
It’s essential that businesses accept the need for technology in everyday tasks and identify what areas of their business will become automated over the next 5-10 years, and further distinguish what skills they require to hold a competitive advantage for future years.
In order to address the skills gap and assist our businesses with achieving greater productivity, there are 3 key areas that help build a skilled worker. It starts with education, then it’s up to the individual to pursue their strengths, and finally their workplaces must be open to change and understand how to use it to their advantage.
- Education plays a key role
As individuals recognise their need for skill development and practical experiences, the demand is for our education systems to shift towards a more realistic, hands-on approach to learning. Whilst VET courses already offer this advantage, it’s important that the real-world skills are taught early in high school to better prepare our young people for the realities of the workforce.
Many school leavers are starting to shift towards a preference for VET courses opposed to the traditional university degree, with the 2018 Youth Census outlining that those participants who pursued a university pathway reported lower levels of wellbeing than some other post-school pathways.
Given the way apprenticeships are structured, young people reported a greater sense of meaning and optimism, were driven by a clear goal, and motivated by the annual course completion rewards.
Additional findings showed that a staggering 90% of the highest growth jobs in the next five years only require a VET qualification.
The skills required to fill the national skills shortage aren’t those that can be learnt by reading a textbook, they’re developed through interaction in a workplace. Services such as those offered by Skillset Youth Connect, provide school leavers with mentoring and assistance to plan, set and achieve the education, training and career goals that are right for each individual, to then help them move into appropriate employability.
- Individuals need to be proactive
It’s a matter of looking at your resume and identifying your skills and knowledge, then recognising what you think you don’t know. From here you can start listing the skills associated with the things that you don’t know and begin enhancing your skillset and filling the gap with education and experiences through short courses, work experience or mentoring.
This process of career enhancement and personal development is about challenging yourself and being courageous enough to learn something new and having the confidence in your abilities. In a rapidly changing workforce, it’s important that you have communication and problem-solving skills to figure the rest out.
- Managers mindsets need to shift
Providing training opportunities and career development pathways are essential for a business’ talent retention strategy. Investing in your people today, is a long term investment for the long term success of your business.
There’s no doubt that Richard Branson is one of the greatest leaders of our time due to his unique outlook on managing people and desire to create a team that is driven by the same core values. For managers to recognise the value of their employees and be genuinely interested in them are two of the great qualities for leaders to have.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
– Richard Branson
Studies show that employees who feel supported and encouraged in their profession are more engaged and productive on a day-to-day basis and will stay in the organisation for longer. Some businesses object to training apprentices as they feel that they invest too much time and energy only to have them leave.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
– Richard Branson
In our current workforce, we have four generations, each of which have different learning, leading and work styles. Our generation Z workers are often frowned upon for being “lazy, self-centred and entitled, however they are an asset in today’s digital age. For businesses to thrive in today’s digital market, they need to embrace young workers and all that they have to offer rather than focussing on the way the business has always done things.
Change is coming and it’s happening fast! Businesses need to prepare their employees and ensure that they’re open to finding new solutions.
Apprenticeships are beneficial to businesses because they provide employers with a low-risk sense of ‘trialling’ the employee before they’re hired full-time. Apprenticeships are a way of the future in that they close the skills gap to an extent where the employer can train the apprentice their way and equip them with necessary skills.
If businesses think they will be looking for staff to fill any skills gaps anytime in the next 4 months, they’re encouraged to contact Skillset Workforce who will have a pool of talented young people who are keen to work and who have been supported to work out what the best fit career is for them. Services such as those offered at Skillset, take the risk out of the recruitment process.