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Workers must retrain as low-skill jobs go

Australian workers will have to retrain as low-skilled jobs disappear from the national economy, federal Skills Minister Chris Evans says.

A new government agency, launched on Thursday by the minister, will work with industry to lift the level of skills among Australia’s workforce.

Senator Evans says there are enormous opportunities to obtain high-skilled and well-paid jobs as the economy shifts.

“Low-skilled jobs are disappearing from the economy as a result of technology (and) structural changes,” he said.

The new Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency replaces Skills Australia and will work to identify and close skills shortages within Australia’s workforce.

Senator Evans says a challenge for the agency is managing the shift in the location of job opportunities in the mining boom states of Western Australia and Queensland while most Australians live in the southeast corner of the nation.

“We have not been good at labour mobility in Australia in the past,” he told Sky News.

“People have not been keen to move, so looking at the barriers to that are important.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), an employer’s lobby group, says broadening the role of the agency is a step in the right direction.

“A strong, clear industry voice is needed to create the impetus for change in vocational education and training to create a truly industry driven system,” ACCI president Peter Anderson said in a statement on Thursday.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson says higher education will be the driving force to increase the skills of Australia’s workforce.

“Whether it be in powering innovation, ensuring our environmental sustainability or maximising our involvement in the Asian Century, the pivotal role of higher education cannot not be overstated,” Ms Robinson said.

The agency will be led by Philip Bullock, who is the former managing director of IBM Australia.

Its board will include serving RBA board member Heather Ridout and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Peter Anderson.

Reinvent Your Career would like to thank The Australian where this article first appeared.

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