Study reveals young people disappointed by education, as small business leader calls for VET shake-up

Study reveals young people disappointed by education, as small business leader calls for VET shake-up

The skills shortage in Australia is frustrating small business and young people alike, with both employers and employees saying education is failing to make graduates ready for the workplace.

Research released this week from education provider Think Education reveals close to 40% of young Australian workers feel their education hasn’t given them the skills required for their current job.

The research, which surveyed 1000 young Australian workers aged 18-35, found only three in five workers (61%) feel empowered by their education, and even less (55%) feel inspired by their education.

The young people surveyed singled out the need for knowledge and skills that lead to a job as their top education priority.

Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany the research shows young people understand what small business employers have felt for some time.

“It shows that young people get it,” says Strong.

“People are always attacking the younger generation but this shows they are saying it’s not good enough.”

Strong says the research demonstrates the current training sector has let both young people and small business down.

“I think the VET sector needs a shake-up. The regulators have failed,” he says.

Linda Brown, chief executive of Think Education, told SmartCompany the research paints a “frightening” picture.

“It shows we don’t have a skills shortage, we have an experience shortage,” says Brown.

Both Strong and Brown agree the solution to the problem is industry and training providers working together.

“What this means is that the regulators need to work with the RTOs and industry to help deliver what the employers and the workers want,” says Strong.

Brown says Think Education is working with small business owners to help teach and train young people.

“Any passionate small business owners who want to mentor students or give them an internship or come in and see the innovation students have to offer should contact us,” says Brown.

Meanwhile, the research also shows young people highly value entrepreneurship, with 65% having aspirations to run their own business.

However, 58% of young people identified the financial implications of owning a small business as the biggest hurdle to getting their enterprise off the ground.

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