Research Reveals the Need to Reshape Skills

New research has revealed the need to re-engineer the skills of the Western Sydney labour market if it is to keep pace with the changing face of the region and economy.

Speaking from the launch of the Greater Western Sydney Skills Barometer report, commissioned by TAFE Western Sydney and Western Sydney Business Connection, Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, said that the “skill-set DNA” of local workers needed to change if it was to meet the needs of the growth industries of the future.

He also added that vocational training had to be made appealing, with TAFE colleges given the independence to brand their offering, compete for students and attract innovative private partnerships.

“The Greater Western Sydney Skills Barometer has highlighted the changing nature of Western Sydney and the skills gap that exists. Our future industries will be in areas such as tourism, international education, health, wealth management and agribusiness. This is not where our current skills bank is,” Mr Brown said.

“The region has benefited in recent years from major public and private funding flowing into Western Sydney University. However, we have to ensure the same prioritisation for TAFE if we are to address a looming skills shortage in trades and related professions.

“We need many more programs like the Barangaroo Skills Exchange, where Lendlease and TAFE have formed a remarkable partnership to train workers in modern construction methods, using on-site ‘pop up’ classrooms and mentors.

“I’d like to see these legacy training partnerships on every major infrastructure project in the region, including Badgerys Creek Airport and its road links, the Olympic Corridor Light Rail, Sydney Science Park, Rosehill Gardens upgrade, Moorebank Intermodal terminal and Parramatta’s new Powerhouse Museum and Stadium.

“This should be embedded in the projects’ procurement process and the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue is working with government and the private sector to make this happen.”

The Greater Western Sydney Skills Barometer, undertaken by Lonergan Research, revealed that more than 60,000 advertised jobs were unable to be filled, due largely to a skills shortage. The report also debunked the ‘blue-collar’ perception of Western Sydney workers, with the research showing that white collar workers make up the bulk of the roles in the region (64%).

“The data and information collected through this report will play an important role in helping address the needs of industry and government, and help ensure the workers of Western Sydney have the necessary skills to respond to the changes and trends in the market,” Mr Brown said.

“I would like to congratulate TAFE Western Sydney Institute for its leadership on skills training and Minister Barilaro for backing his team in this innovative report.”

For a full copy of the Greater Western Sydney Skills Barometer visit: