Replacing the current Skills For All scheme with WorkReady will slash subsidised training - a key pathway into workforce participation - at the very time South Australia has a major unemployment crisis.
Moreover, implementing the scheme in the way proposed will destroy investments in high quality training infrastructure that Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) linked to community based organisations have built up over the last decade.
SACOSS Executive Director Ross Womersley said,
“Many of our member organisations are extremely concerned about the consequences that will flow from this decision.
“We believe the impacts will be felt by those working directly to get people into work, as well as those that have created RTO’s so our sector has access to a training system that is flexible, responsive, and delivered in a customised way to the needs of learners and employers.
“Our members developed their training arms in large part because TAFE had limited relationships with sector organisations and was not managing to provide the specialist services and support that disadvantaged members of our community needed to navigate the pathway to employment.
“We are not convinced that this is any more likely with WorkReady”.
The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia has developed its training over a decade in close collaboration with industry employers. It’s highly specialised training team work in delivering just one qualification.
Geoff Harris, Executive Director of MHCSA said,
“Work in mental health is some of the most challenging you can find and our members need people to have training that is based in real world experience.
“MHCSA only enrols students who are employed subject to achieving a Certificate IV qualification so there is a direct link to both keeping up to date with the employer’s needs, and ensuring the students remain employed. Our trainers have recent and highly relevant experience in the industry.
“This is not an approach that a large generalist organisation can achieve and this decision means MHCSA will be closing its RTO’s doors.”
While MHCSA has to close its Registered Training Organisation (RTO), a number of other SACOSS members are anticipating they will lose between 40-50 percent of their training business, seriously threatening their ongoing viability.
Mr Womersley continued,
“For all the problems with Skills For All, its subsidised training provided one of the best ways to help many people find their way into, or back into, the workforce.
“These subsidies have now been slashed at the very time we have an unemployment crisis especially amongst our young people, and this will completely undermine any other work we are doing to get people ready for and into work.”
SACOSS and MHCSA are concerned this decision by the government has been made without proper consultation with current training providers.
We believe it disregards the important connections that these providers have with employers and the community, and the customised and flexible and specialised services they are equipped to provide.
Together we are calling on the government to immediately put a hold on any move to WorkReady until there is a full review with proper stakeholder consultation.