Message from the CEO: Industry can be VET’s greatest champion

We are almost halfway through the year and the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Melbourne is only five months away.  I am excited to see what over 500 of the nation’s best young apprentices, trainees and students bring to the National Competition, and ultimately discovering who will be selected to represent Australia as a Skillaroo next year at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

As the competitors work hard for their shot at greatness, I can’t help but to note how much power industry and RTO involvement has in ensuring these competitors’ success.  Employers across the country are providing their competitors with time off for training either in-house or at their local RTO, with a mentor plus providing the tools they need to compete.  Without this support and collaboration, many of these young people would never be able to take advantage of opportunities like the National Competition.

With constant media reports on the shortage of skilled labour in many trade and skill-based professions in Australia, the dedication displayed by our judges, volunteers and partners provides an opportunity for industry and the VET sector to promote trades and skills as viable, first choice career options.

Industry must become VET’s greatest champions.  One of the best ways you can help nurture the next generation of trades and skills talent is to take on an apprentice of your own.  Regardless, there is still vital work you can do.  By aligning yourselves with reputable training organisations, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge with young people through work or one-on-one mentorship.  The more diversified training young apprentices and trainees have access to, the more they will be able to bring to the industry upon completing their qualifications.

WorldSkills Australia is providing businesses with a chance to set themselves up as champions of VET and showcase the opportunities available within the sector at the National Competition.  The Skills Village will allow businesses to directly engage with young people in a meaningful way about the career pathways available to them.  To inspire them further, businesses can set up a fun, interactive Try’aSkill demonstration to allow young people to try their hand at simple trade or skill-related tasks.

If you can’t make it to the National Competition, Try’aSkill demonstrations can also be set up at your local career expos, TAFE open days or industry events.

We encourage industry to get involved with VET.  You can determine your industry’s future only by taking an active part in ensuring its survival.