Concerns have been raised about whether the 2010-2011 Budget skills investment is enough to alleviate Australia’s skills crisis.
Candle ICT COO, Kym Quick, said the $661 million set aside in the budget to fund skills and training might help scratch the surface of the underlying skills crisis bu resolving the crisis would involve more than funding training.
“It’s good that the Government has recognised the issues in encouraging people to take up trades – it’s there that the pinch has been felt the tightest,” Quick said. “However, there needs to be more done with making it easier to bring skills into the country in the short term.”
Candle ICT recently observed an uneven balance between labour supply and demand, in its Clarius Skills Index. At the time Quick claimed the changes to the 457 Visa by the Government was inhibiting the ability for organisations to look offshore for skills in the event they were not available locally.
Quick also claimed the Budget would open up many opportunities within ICT, but questioned whether the industry had the ability to meet those opportunities was another matter.
“The challenge will be in keeping up with that demand,” she said.
Recruitment firm, Randstad, saw similar potential pitfalls with the money set aside for skills and training in the Budget.
Randstad IT division general manager, Dominic Du Faur, said opportunities created for ICT through the Budget would, in the short term, further deepen the skills crisis.
“Investment in training is a long term initiative,” Du Faur said. “Organisations working in healthcare or education are going to need the skills immediately, as a result of the additional investments by the Government.”
Du Faur echoed Quick’s sentiments that the Government should consider relaxing restrictions on organisations looking to sponsor overseas talent.
“Australia is heavily reliant on overseas skills, and that needs to be looked at again,” he said.
Recently, Cisco and Dimension Data also recognised a rapidly deepening crisis in IT skills in Australia, to the point where opportunities would be potentially missed in the future.