ARA welcomes Victorian lead in addressing skills shortages

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of a new training initiative to allow students to take up an apprenticeship whilst they continue to study in secondary school. Importantly for the retail sector, hair and beauty services and hospitality are two of the 12 priority areas identified by government under this new program. 

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says the initiative will help to address a skills crisis in these two segments that pre-dated the pandemic and have been exacerbated over the past two years. 

“With hair and beauty services facing some of the most acute labour and skills shortages in our sector, along with hospitality, this new program will help attract, train and retain a new workforce into businesses where new jobseekers and apprentices are desperately needed,” said Mr Zahra.  

“We have been in ongoing discussions with the Victorian government around the skills crisis across the retail sector and so we welcome this announcement, committing the government to work with industry in addressing long-term shortages of skilled labour”.  

“The government has also recognised the importance of providing professional development programs for teachers, alongside the reforms announced for students. This is a common-sense approach that we believe will enhance the learning experience for apprentices in the program and provide a meaningful pathway from school to work for young Victorians who wish to pursue a trade-based career,” said Mr Zahra. 

The new Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate program will combine the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and be available to students from next year.  

“These reforms are geared toward increasing the range of career and training opportunities available to  Victorians as they transition out of school into work. While we still need to address immediate labour shortages as our sector emerges from the pandemic, this program looks like it has the potential to play an important role in addressing the long-term skills crisis in hair and beauty services, and hospitality,” said Mr Zahra. 

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