Education, training and retraining are fundamental for a fair and just society. For individuals, education and training provide the means to learn new skills, build professional and personal networks and gain economic independence.
Investment in education and training also benefits society as a whole – Skilling NSW will raise productivity, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, and even improve health outcomes.
Education is also key to economic prosperity, and equipping the workforce with the skills for the jobs of today and those of the future is an urgent concern for NSW.
But we face many challenges, especially in this era of rapid technological change, with new jobs quickly emerging and replacing others.
Unemployment is rising, with 31 000 more unemployed people in NSW than three years ago. Youth unemployment has increased to over 18 per cent in parts of the Illawarra.
Labor is working to develop and implement policies in consultation with experts, business owners, unions and the broader community to deliver a highly skilled workforce to drive the state’s economic prosperity – focusing on multiple areas, including:
- Quality primary and secondary education as a foundation for future training
- Vocational training and skills development to ensure a smooth transition between school and the workforce
- Retraining and upskilling to allow workers to further progress and find rewarding jobs, and to build a workforce that can adjust to the changing needs of the labour market; and
- Ensuring access to training and employment opportunities for groups facing greater difficulties, in particular, youth, lower skilled workers, people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, and workers with disabilities.
Labor last year hosted a skills summit in partnership with the NSW Business Chamber and Unions NSW, and has continued to hold jobs & skills roundtables and consultations with teachers, businesses and other stakeholders across the state, including in the Illawarra.