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Toward Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland

Vincent Schrieber won the 2009 Queensland Training Awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year. Vincent maintains Yarrabah's water systems and sees water management as an essential service for his community.

Under Toward Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland, the department has lead responsibility for the SMART - delivering world-class education and training ambition that three out of four Queenslanders will hold a trade, training or tertiary qualification by 2020.

Developing skills is fundamental to Queensland's economic prosperity. It is a key driver of productivity and economic growth, and is central to shaping our human capital and community capacity.

The department is committed to improving attainment and transitions for young people. National and international evidence shows that young people who complete 12 years of education have greater opportunities for further education and sustainable employment.

Queensland state high schools offer senior students a broad range of learning experiences. By combining traditional curriculum with courses from TAFE institutes, universities and other RTOs, students are able to diversify their studies, improving their ability to make a seamless transition from school to work or further education.

The Senior Education and Training Plan process is a requirement for all schools. It helps students structure their learning around their abilities, interests and ambitions, and supports strong post-school transitions. As part of the planning process, students think about their future, consider their abilities and investigate their options for careers and further education.

As well as supporting a comprehensive range of learning pathways, the department is creating new skilling pathways to adapt to the shifting economic conditions and support individuals to move into sustainable employment.

Today's training is increasingly responsive to the needs of learners and employers. Training is more relevant, delivery more flexible and the quality higher than ever before. TAFE (including statutory authorities) is the largest provider of practical, relevant and quality education and training in Queensland, delivering educational excellence to 230 000 students this year.

The department is leading activities across the VET and higher education sectors to ensure that Queensland has a competent, flexible and skilled population.

The department is creating a more aligned and integrated Queensland tertiary sector by bringing together VET and higher education through policy development, more targeted purchasing strategies, and strengthened industry and stakeholder engagement. Reforms that are driving increased attainment and completion of higher level qualifications are well underway to produce the skills needed for a growing economy, including:

  • the Productivity Places Program, which aims to increase overall workforce participation, qualification attainment and productivity
  • increasing purchasing strategies that aim to increase flexibility and responsiveness of training providers and create a more demand-driven apprenticeship and traineeship system
  • creating additional training places at Certificate IV level or higher to raise the qualification profile of Queensland's labour force, with a target of 14 000 additional places by 2010-11.

Strategy: Strengthen industry and stakeholder engagement to achieve improved skills outcomes

The department has maintained its strong relationships with business and industry to ensure industry-led VET sector and workforce development strategies meet their needs. A key focus has been integrating industry advice into programs implemented by the department through its industry engagement mechanisms. Current strategies include:

  • centres of excellence
  • skills alliances
  • government-industry partnerships
  • direct engagement strategies
  • skills formation strategies
  • gateway schools.

A review of industry engagement mechanisms was completed in June 2010. The outcomes of the review provide recommendations to improve government engagement with industry and assist the development of a more industry-led VET system. The review also gives emphasis to industry's need for workforce planning and development initiatives.

In the future, the department will further develop its relationship with industry through the establishment of an independent skills commission to lead engagement with industry and the community at the very highest levels. The skills commission, to be known as Skills Queensland, will bring together key industry and government leaders in a genuine partnership to increase productivity and workforce participation. It will address skills gaps and the demands of our growing economy.

Strategy: Refocus training and skilling opportunities to respond to the changing economic environment and industry needs

During 2009-10, the department worked to increase the number of graduates to address professional skills shortages through collaboration with stakeholders involved in related initiatives and coordinated activity to:

  • address skills shortages in nursing, particularly arrangements for clinical placements in nurse education
  • promote ICT professions
  • advocate for Queensland in national forums
  • develop a statement of strategic intent between government and universities
  • identify priority areas of professional skills shortages
  • research factors affecting participation in higher education by people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds
  • research generic approaches to articulation arrangements between VET and higher education institutions.

A key focus for 2009-10 has been on addressing the skill needs of the emerging coal seam gas/liquefied natural gas industry. The department supported initiatives to address the skill needs of existing and new workers in this industry, to ensure an adequately skilled workforce is available for the energy sector and to maximise opportunities for local workers.

In addition, the department has been progressing Queensland's Skills for a Low Carbon Economy project to support and advance existing state and national policy commitments on environmental sustainability. The department has been working with industry to increase its capacity to support excellence in skills for sustainability practice and training. For more information please visit www.training.qld.gov.au/industry

In 2009-10, the department enhanced opportunities for individuals and the economy. Our key achievements included:

  • implementation of key elements of the Queensland Skills Plan including:
    • $10.3 million to tailor the services provided by Skilling Solutions Queensland to better meet the needs of particular industries and client groups
    • $4.8 million to support a range of industry engagement models that promote industry leadership of skills formation and workforce development
  • allocation of over $500 million funding for VET, including apprenticeships and traineeships, through the public provider network of TAFE institutes, statutory TAFE institutes, the Australian Agricultural College Corporation, and private RTOs
  • specific support for the education and training needs of Indigenous Queenslanders through:
    • $2.7 million of state funding for the Training Initiatives for Indigenous Adults in Regional and Remote Communities program, a joint dollar-for-dollar state-Commonwealth initiative
    • $1.6 million in the final year of a four-year, $5.5 million commitment to support students from the Torres Strait, Cape York and Palm Island and their families, while they study away from home at rural and urban secondary schools
  • additional training places (Certificate IV or higher) created to meet our target of 14 000 places by 2010-11.

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