Federal Industry and Science minister Ed Husic is hosting a series of roundtables this week with tech sector leaders to discuss their economic and employment challenges ahead of the Jobs and Skills Summit in September.
The five roundtables this Wednesday to Friday cover the following themes:
- science and commercialisation (August 17)
- digital and tech skills (August 17)
- advanced manufacturing (August 18)
- industrial unions (August 18)
- artificial intelligence (August 19).
Husic said input from the roundtables will help inform his contribution to the Jobs and Skills Summit in a fortnight on September 1-2, and he has also asked Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, to raise jobs growth and skills development at her regular forums ahead of the summit.
“Access to skilled labour is now one of the biggest challenges to Australia’s productivity and competitiveness,” he said.
“There is a shortage of skilled workers across most industries and it is essential that we meet the challenge of supplying the people our nation needs. At these roundtables industry leaders will be able to share their ideas, difficulties and aspirations on how the Government can work with them to find solutions.”
Minister Husic said the discussions will also include ways to increase the representation of women and people of diverse backgrounds in skilled occupations.
“While the priority will be the education and training of the domestic workforce – for young Australians and for workers seeking new careers – managing appropriate skilled migration will also have an important role to play and will be on the agenda,” he said.
“One of my priorities is on ‘brain regain’ – encouraging Australian researchers and innovators to return home. I am interested to hear ideas on how this can be best achieved.
Discussion at the roundtables will include job opportunities in the industries of the future, the skills that will be in demand and the challenges in attracting and retaining skilled workers.
“I can’t emphasise strongly enough that this is the start of engagement with these industry sectors,” Husic said.
“After the Jobs and Skills Summit I will continue the work with industry leaders to ensure we apply practical solutions to accelerate Australia’s pathway to high-skilled, high-value economy.”
The Jobs and Skills Summit at Parliament House will bring together unions, employers, civil society and governments, to address our shared economic challenges, including skills shortages.