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Cross Industry Skills for growth and sustainable communities

Developing cross industry skills

Project title: Cross industry skills deficit and surplus
Timing: June 2012-  June 2015
Location: Australia
Client: Australian Government

The background

Over the past decade the Mining boom generated a workforce shift across Industries. Large numbers of skilled workers moved into Mining jobs, often in remote areas, attracted by the boom’s favourable employment conditions. This worker movement across Australia’s vast landscape was also the catalyst for a population migration from higher density areas to more regional communities.

The opportunity

Although many communities thrived, changing economic conditions, transient workforces and shifting Industry focus created significant challenges.
Employers and employees were faced with difficult questions – who would fill the emerging jobs and what opportunities would remain for workers with Industry-specific skills? The Australian Government agreed to fund an innovative project to address the challenge of skills deficit versus surplus in regions where skills migration was linked to the booming Mining Industry. Sustainable Skills (formerly SkillsDMC) was appointed to manage the project in collaboration with another Industry Skills Council.

The solution

Competition for skills was a key constraint to procuring work-ready individuals. The strategy to support community sustainability was to broaden the skills base across multiple sectors by developing relevant, employability skills rather than seasonal ones. Cross industry skills was identified as a key mechanism to create this multi-skilled workforce, capable of moving fluidly between related Industries and plugging skills gaps stemming from seasonal and economic employment fluctuations. Sustainable Skills worked with Industry stakeholders to develop a Cross Industry Skills Qualification to equip individuals with portable skills to work across Mining, Agriculture, Civil Infrastructure and related industries. To ensure the qualification could sustainably address the ebb and flow of workforce demand across these industries, Sustainable Skills conducted in-depth engagement with local Industry, individuals, local and state government comparing their needs and priorities against available skills.

The benefit

Transferable employment skills across a range of related Industries can signifcantly improve the socioeconomic wellbeing of regional areas. It can increase employment opportunities and incentivise young people to remain in non-metropolitan regions. The Cross Industry Qualification was endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills commitee in 2015 and could form the basis of sustainable skills pipeline development in a range of regional hubs around Australia.

This work has been undertaken with the assistance of funding provided by the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Cross Industry Skills