HIA was also pleased to welcome Nadine Williams, Deputy Secretary, Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Nadine drilled down into the recommendations of the Joyce Review, revealing how engaged her team is in undertaking reform of Australia’s VET sector. Nadine called on industry to be part of the process of change, stating that she wanted a VET system that is ‘industry-facing’. She confirmed that the federal government is committed to supporting vocational education as an equal partner to university education, reinforced when this key objective was accepted at the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Leaders Meeting two days later.
Professor Kerry London spoke next and brought a depth of research to the discussion on how industry can change. She delivered a presentation on how disruptive innovation can be promoted through team building and facilitating a sharing of information and cross-pollination among industry partners. Kerry’s research also offered a view on industrialised building, looking to the industry in China for ideas which Australian industry could consider.
A key challenge for the residential building industry is ensuring we entice a sufficient number of young people to meet the current and future skill requirements of our industry. Two presenters stepped up to the mark in spades to address this topic. The first, Mark Hands, offered a unique view as the CEO & Executive Principal of the Australian Industry Trade College in Queensland. The college offers a school-based trade qualification which has been developed to match the needs of young people with the needs of employers. The heart of the college’s motivation is to move away from a trade being seen ‘as the thing you do when you can’t do other things’.
Established in 2008, and just 10 years on, the college has 2000 graduates across four campuses, with more to come. The college has assisted more than 1900 students to enter into apprenticeships and traineeships, with the aim to have 4500 students across 17 campuses by 2028.