TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Marie Larkings is urging school leavers to take advantage of fee-free training to equip them with the skills they need to secure jobs with local employers who are crying out for qualified employees.
The NSW Business Chamber 2019 Workforce Skills Survey has reported that 61.8 per cent of businesses with skills shortages are unable to recruit suitable staff and that they are carrying more job vacancies in 2019 compared to 2017.
Across the Mid North Coast region, the multimedia, health care, and electricity industry are just some of the industries experiencing ongoing skills shortages.
TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Marie Larkings, said "TAFE NSW works closely with industry to ensure that we're delivering a pipeline of skilled employees who are equipped with the practical skills and work experience that employers are looking for.
"Considering the range of fee-free training opportunities available, such as the NSW Government Smart and Skilled and Fee-free apprenticeships initiatives, there has never been a better time for school leavers to pursue a career in industries with employment and career progression opportunities."
The Joyce review of vocational education noted this year that stakeholders were concerned that students who would otherwise thrive in VET careers are being directed towards higher education options where they may not succeed.
"While university may be a viable option for some school leavers, it's important that vocational education and training is considered a 'plan A' for school leavers to pursue careers in areas that they are passionate about," Ms Larkings said.
Mid North Coast NSW Business Chamber Regional General Manager, Kellon Beard said that local business owners and industry representatives have welcomed the push by TAFE NSW to encourage school leavers, and their influencers, to the range of career opportunities in the Mid North Coast region.
"We see first-hand all the fantastic opportunities available to youth to kick-start their careers through vocational education and training and we know there are many local businesses who are eager to employ them, especially into apprenticeships and traineeships."
He said the Chamber had long supported youth employment initiatives in NSW and encouraged any young people finishing school who are confused about the best pathway for them, to jump on Skillsroad.com.au and take the free career quiz.
Marie Larkings has also taken the opportunity to reassure school leavers that, regardless of their ATAR, there are a range of degrees and pathways to higher education available at TAFE NSW.
Various TAFE NSW courses can also be studied online, when and where it suits students, via TAFE Digital. For more detail on TAFE NSW courses, face-to-face or online, visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.
Find out what's available at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus TAFE college here.