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Skills shortages can be combated through education

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read

New reforms are trying to align the skills training and higher education system more closely to ensure the Australian workforce is strong and resilient.

ITECA (Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia) strives to build a stronger connection within the tertiary education system. They want skills training and higher education sectors to operate in better cohesion without sacrificing their separate strengths and identities.

According to ITECA, tertiary education reforms must be student-centric. The strategies must be that they:

  • Underpin lifelong learning.
  • Are focused on improving a diverse range of outcomes.
  • Ensure the alignment between the offerings of the tertiary education system and students’ knowledge, skills, and personal attributes.

Troy Williams, ITECA chief executive, stated: “The conventional model of education and employment, where individuals complete their education early and follow a relatively unchanged career path, is now outdated in modern Australia. Instead, a new era of lifelong learning is taking root.”

“This model isn’t just about personal or professional growth; it’s a necessity for driving workforce productivity and enhancing Australia’s global competitiveness.”

Enhancing global competitiveness has become a common talking point throughout political and business spaces. Transformations in terms of new technologies, energy systems, and business strategies are changing the working landscape into a mad scramble for the next big innovative leap.

The urgency is being sparked by the potential economic rewards that these innovative technologies hold. Thus, the need to to adapt to the potential of these future systems is now becoming a priority for the Australian workforce.

“Australia’s workforce is undergoing transformation as we transition to a clean economy, respond to the increasing demand for human services due to an ageing population, and adapt to the rise of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence. The nation’s approach to workforce development must evolve to ensure individuals maintain meaningful employment. Lifelong learning is becoming the new norm,” Williams said.

Establishing an Australian Tertiary Education Commission is a key recommendation from ITECA, with the task being to establish and provide leadership, stewardship, and the guidance necessary to transform the tertiary education system to achieve a unified objective for both skills training and higher education.

“Australia must develop an integrated tertiary education system to ensure that today’s workforce is adaptable and prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges. With the current reforms underway, achieving this goal may be within reach,” Williams concluded.

With increased attention to skills development through education, Australia can help mitigate the effects of talent and skills shortages that have affected industries across the country.



The term "workforce" or "labour force" refers to the group of people who are either employed or unemployed.

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.