Media Releases

Business & SA Unions collaborating to address future workforce needs in SA

February 29, 2024

From today, workers will be represented on new industry skills councils, signaling a seismic shift away from corporate cronyism, towards a skills and training system that can adequately meet our states’ future economic and industrial needs.

To support the work of the South Australia Skills Commission and provide a mechanism for businesses, peak industry associations, unions and employer representatives to discuss with government skills and workforce needs, 10 new Industry Skills Councils have been established.

The councils reflect and represent key sectors and the views and needs of industry. Each council comprises a broad range of committed members, each bringing their own knowledge and understanding of their specific industry.

These strategic direction-setting councils, will be able to better rely on TAFE SA to better meet our state’s training needs, following the SA Government’s efforts to empower South Australian workers and ensure a more accessible and equitable TAFE education system.

Skills aren’t a commodity that an individual business can simply buy ‘off the shelf’. Skills are the result of workers’ efforts to equip themselves for fulfilling careers and dignified lives. Skills are inherently human, and when we see collaboration among industry stakeholders and workers in shaping industry and skills policy, we get better outcomes.

For too long, we've witnessed ideological attacks on TAFE SA and a lack of investment in supporting trainees and workers throughout their studies in South Australia. SA Unions welcome this new approach to skills.

Our TAFE system was practically on life-support after the cuts and mismanagement of the previous Liberal government. The corporatisation and privatisation of vocational education and training hasn’t worked for South Australians.

Cracking down on training system rorting by stamping out dodgy provider behaviour is long overdue. The system-wide focus on trainees completing their qualification will help more workers gain the skills needed for job opportunities here in South Australia.

Having a top-notch training system is only the first part, success also requires that there are good secure jobs with good conditions that entice workers to become qualified and to ultimately remain in their industry.