A re-elected Morrison government would spend $5 million on a digital skills passport allowing workers to display their university, VET and private sector qualifications in one place, Employment Minister Stuart Robert says.
The Coalition’s latest election pitch would allow employers to quickly assess what skills a worker may have and identify potential training gaps, Robert says, allowing businesses to better understand how their skills mix could improve.
“Imagine an Australian that has done a university [course], and a few vocational courses, and a private-sector course, all of that reflected and covered by a common credit point, if you like,” Robert told Sunrise Tuesday morning.
“It can all be understood and you can simply see, ‘if there is one extra course, I can get that qualification, if I upgrade to that, I can get that qualification’,” he added, claiming “every Australian will benefit” from the scheme.
Instead of leaning on pre-existing digital passport systems, or borrowing technology used for digital vaccine registers, the Coalition hopes to develop the new system with the Australian Technology Network of Universities.
The proposed passport would first roll out in the tech sector, Robert said in a statement, reflecting a current shortage of qualified workers in a number of digital-first areas.
The announcement comes as the Coalition campaigns on funding measures for apprenticeships and traineeships, and new measures announced in the 2021-2022 federal budget.
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Speaking in Sydney Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that his government is projected to direct $7.8 billion in funding to the skills sector this financial year alone — a figure Morrison and Robert rolled out in March.
“We made the wise decision during the pandemic to back in those apprenticeships with strong trades policies, to ensure that Australian companies had the people they need to now go and seize the opportunities that are ahead of them,” Morrison said.
Labor, which is expanding its polling lead just two weeks ahead of election day, has pledged to help create 1.2 million new digital-focused jobs by 2030 if elected.
That promise comes by way of its commitment to creating 465,000 new, fee-free TAFE places and 20,000 extra university places.