Training cut back as economic conditions bite

Transport employers are cutting back on training for their staff due to the tight economy, a report reveals

By Ruza Zivkusic | November 3, 2011

Transport employers are cutting back on training for their staff due to the tight economy, a report reveals.

Data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows the proportion of businesses using the vocational education and training (VET) system to meet their skill needs has fallen by 22.3 percent since 2009 in the transport sector.

The freeze is set to continue as skilled workers leave the industry for the resources sector, Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) General Manager for strategy and policy Amanda Thomas says.

"Margins in the industry are still tight and training will continue to stay closely aligned with regulatory requirements and the ongoing challenge will be assisting employers to achieve productivity gain through up skilling," Thomas says.

Many businesses, including smaller operators, have cut training as their skilled staff to leave to work at the mines, she adds.

"As they train people up to get national qualifications, or higher levels of licences that makes them more attractive to the mining and construction sectors to go off to higher salaries, some employers have stopped training as a result of wanting to keep the workforce they’ve got."

Thomas says a federal funding package called Building Australia’s Future Workforce, which provides $3.02 billion over four years to support training and workforce development in areas of current and future skills need, will help employers train their staff and keep them.

"We’re trying to work with smaller employers to show them avenues for accessing support for training to increase the uptake for training qualifications," she says.

The fund allows eligible organisations to apply for funding to support the training of existing and new workers in areas of identified businesses and workforce development need.

NCVER Managing Director Tom Karmel says the training decline is caused by the drop in employers’ use of nationally recognised training.

"When times are tough there is usually less money available to invest in aspects of a business such as staff training," he says.

"Overall, employers’ satisfaction with the VET system remains high. This suggests that the decline in training has more to do with the economy than anything else."

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