The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) welcomes today’s release of the State Government’s Future jobs, future skills STEM strategy to help ensure Western Australia’s future workforce remains at the cutting edge in a globally competitive market.

The Government’s strategy identifies key areas of focus where government, industry and education institutions can work together to improve West Australians’ STEM skills from early education through to retraining existing employees in the workplace.

Government now needs to act quickly to implement its strategy and detail specific actions that businesses, education institutions and government could take together over the short and long-term to more effectively leverage off their respective strengths to enhance WA’s STEM capacity.

Boosting STEM skills is critical to ensure our State’s economy can continue to diversify and our future workforce has the skills it needs to create and take on these job opportunities as new technologies are developed.

We welcome the Government’s recognition that industry is well placed to identify the skills employers need now and into the future to keep pace with rapid technological changes and to give students hands on experience in real workplace settings.

CCI is proud to partner with the Curtin University and University of Western Australia to deliver leading work integrated learning programs – placing university students in WA businesses to help ensure we have work ready graduates. Our Apprenticeship Support Australia team connects apprentices and trainees with potential employers and training providers, providing workers with industry-standard training in real workplace settings.

We welcome the strategy’s focus on encouraging industry to reskill existing workers, particularly those who may be affected by automation. Given incentives for businesses to upskill and retrain existing workers through traineeships were removed by the State Government last year, it is vital that action in this area is prioritised.

CCI looks forward to working with the Government to identify how its STEM skills strategy can be most effectively implemented with industry.