NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has announced a review of TAFE’s trades education system to ensure tradies are learning the skills of the future.

Premier Berejiklian said “we need to prepare workers in new areas like 3D printing and robotics to provide the jobs of the future in places like the Western Sydney Aerotropolis and the Sydney Tech Hub.”

The Review will consider things like a HECS-style program for TAFE students, industry involvement in co-designing courses and making sure courses are up-to-date.

Peter Shergold and David Gonski have been appointed to lead the review. Mr Shergold co-authored the recent review into the building industry whilst David Gonski led the comprehensive review into the school education system.

Why we should care…

By upskilling tradies and attracting more people into trades, everyone will benefit: employers will gain access to more qualified employees, employees will be more employable and valuable, and the economy will see an increase in skilled workers and productivity.

But this may be putting the cart before the horse. Premier Berejiklian mentions 3D printing and robotics - both of which may be years away from hitting the average Australian construction site. After all, you can’t educate workers on technology that doesn’t exist yet.

Perhaps a review of what’s holding the industry back from adopting these technologies as well as supporting and encouraging innovation and emerging technology may be a good complimentary initiative.

The Review will be issued to the NSW Government by July 2020.