The Financial Review has published the following letter from Brian Welch, (Chairman, Industry Workforce Development Group):

TAFE can’t carry the training load alone

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on the right track – trade training is at the crossroads and the opportunity exists to make it function much better (‘‘Outdated skill sets a real drag on business,’’ May 27).

What is needed is employer and union buy-in, leaving industrial relations hats at the door. TAFEs need to work more co-operatively among themselves and with industry registered training organisations, which have the highest integrity link to the industry, to get the best outcome.

Yes, there are new systems and technology where government too needs to take a lead. Mandating technology such as Building Information Modelling in government projects has been a proven success elsewhere in the world for reducing waste and construction time and sets standards and protocols industry can follow.

And no, dumbing down trade training is not the way to go. Competent trades are the best protection for consumers – along with the introduction of compulsory professional development to ensure contemporary knowledge is being employed to the benefit of the community.

The way forward is calling for responsible leaders of industry and government to work together to devise a better system and enhanced course outcomes, then to put forward their best trade and professional people to help up-skill TAFE trainers. European employers set the standard for responsible contributions in this regard. TAFE by itself won’t cut the mustard.

Brian Welch
Chairman, Industry Workforce Development Group