TAFE NSW Regional general manager Jonathan Davis 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 Bega and Far South Coast regions commercial cookery, early childhood education, trades and disability services are just some of the industries experiencing ongoing skills shortages.
"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," Mr Davis said.
"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," Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis 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.
Merimbula's Waterfront Café owner Brett Kryskow thought it was a good timing to encourage school leavers, and their influencers, to understand the range of career opportunities on the Far South Coast and Bega region.
He encourages school leavers who are passionate about food to consider becoming an apprentice chef.
"Apprentices are the future of our industry. We try to put on between one and three per year, we've put through 12 apprentices in the past eight years.
"A lot of businesses are after apprentices, it's a great thing to train them and get them up to scratch and be excited about their future.
"An apprentice chef learns useful skills that they can employ in restaurants and cafes around the world. You'll never be without a job. A passionate chef can make a good living."
To find out more about studying at TAFE NSW, phone 131 601 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au