At a time when our industry is in dire need of skilled young people, it has been revealed the government is not doing enough about the skills shortage. A report published by the Department of Education has informed us that it has underspent on its key budget items around supporting the skilled trades.
The report, released this week, shows there was a shortfall of $68 million on trade support loans, Australian Apprenticeships Centres came up short by $51 million and the Apprenticeship Incentives funding was underspent by $35 million.
At a time when everyone involved in the trucking industry is desperate to bring in young people to develop the skills needed to take the industry into the next thirty years, opportunities to fund those people and incentivise their training were left unspent in government coffers.
What does this tell us? It tells us we are not going to see much help from the top and are going to have to go it alone. The problem is, going it alone means it is not part of a government backed scheme and doesn’t attract state funding. However, as we have seen the government don’t care and can’t even be bothered to spend the funding they have allocated.
It’s also not such a good idea for everyone to go off and create their own scheme. Small separate schemes work for individual organisations. If that trained person goes elsewhere there is no way of comparing the competencies they possess.
The only way progress is going to be made is for the industry as a whole to work together, identify the skills needed and work, with everyone else, to get a unified list of skill sets which can be delineated and specified. We all need to be singing off the same hymn sheet.
If trucking doesn’t do this, there is going to be a shortfall in the number of skilled people coming into trucking to replace those who are already at retirement age. The last thing we can do is wait around until the government comes up with something to help us.
If you develop a series of schemes to bring skilled people into the industry by training them through apprenticeship schemes and incentives, and then don’t even bother to spend the funding you have budgeted, you are clearly not doing enough about the skills shortage and just don’t care. Trucking needs to care, and start caring now.