To ensure this alignment between industry’s skills needs and training, the Government appointed Neil Coulson in December 2015 as the first Victorian Skills Commissioner (VSC). The VSC, who is supported by the Department of Education and Training, provides independent advice to the Minister for Training and Skills. To support this, the VSC has recommended a new Industry Engagement Framework to Government. A key component of the new framework is the establishment of ten new Industry Advisory Groups (IAGs) which cover industries ranging from construction and health, to resources and manufacturing.
The IAGs consist of representatives of industry, unions and employers. IAGs will provide advice to the VSC on matters including skill demand pressures and future industry skills needs. IAGs will serve as an important reference for the VSC, providing industry intelligence around priority growth sectors as well as existing industries. They will play a formal role in informing the VSC of workforce training needs as part of the Government’s funded training system.
As part of the establishment of the IAGs ForestWorks has been contracted by the Victorian Government to provide secretariat support to two of the new IAGs; Resources, Forestry, Paper and Pulp and Construction including Construction Technologies and Civil Construction.
The IAGs held their inaugural meetings with the Victorian Skills Commissioner Neil Coulson over this past week. The following items were discussed in relation to the forest and wood products sector:
- The impact of technology on the industry and the need to up skill workers.
- The shift across sectors of the industry to producing high value added products for domestic and export markets.
- The need for innovation skills as an enabler for the industry to take advantage of new emerging opportunities.
- The trend driven by technology for quicker and safer construction of residential and commercial mid-rise buildings using prefabricated components.