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Hundreds of thousands of jobs empty – but opportunity is knocking

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

More than 200,000 jobs remain vacant in Australia due to a lack of skills, according to a report from the nation’s leading training group.

More than 200,000 jobs remain vacant in Australia due to a lack of skills, according to a report from the nation's leading training group.

"They've got skills, but they're not the skills employers are looking for," WPC Group CEO Andrew Sezonov said.

"So we've got people without jobs and jobs without people.

"That's what we call the skills mismatch."

The report, which was prepared for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on the eve of the federal budget, has been obtained exclusively by 9News and provides a roadmap for jobs growth in the short term and once the COVID-19 crisis ends.

Entitled "Apprenticeships for Growth", it has been collated in collaboration with the global Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation (IWSI).

"There are vacancies in growth areas – cyber security and health care" Mr Sezonov said.

"But then our traditional areas, engineers, mechanics, hairdressers and horticulture apprentices, as well."

Lance Satara is one apprentice already taking advantage of the vacancies.

The 20-year-old is completing his first year in an aviation engineering apprenticeship with Toll.

"It's flexible and I'm learning constantly," Mr Satara told 9News.

"I wanted to jump to a field that I had no clue about and this is gas turbines and I just wanted to jump into the water and give it a go.

"As well as giving me the tools, it's a lot of fun and extremely hands-on."

The development and training means Mr Satara is now working on $25 million rescue helicopters under the eye of assistant chief engineer Kris Bahls.

"I was an apprentice as well, it fast-tracked my career," Mr Bahls said.

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"Having young and enthusiastic members of the team keeps the experienced members motivated as well.

"It's rewarding watching them grow."

Apprenticeships will play a big part in the federal government's COVID-recovery budget that the Treasurer says will focus on "jobs, jobs, jobs".

It is expected that $1.2 billion will be announced to incentivise businesses to take on apprentices.

"It is clear an expanded emphasis on apprenticeship employment and targeted vocational training must be central to any economic and employment recovery strategy", IWSI CEO Nicholas Wyman said.

"We don't want employers taking up this offer simply to access a subsidy.

"This is about creation of long-term job opportunities for young people."

The report identified the current skills shortage as a "chicken and egg dilemma", with employers wanting to hire people with demonstrated experience but employees worried about the pace of technological change on the jobs market.

Training executives are hoping the combination of financial incentives and a targeted list of 70 professions identified by the government will help solve the dilemma.

Source: 9News

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