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National Skills Week 2017: Where the jobs are for vocationally trained workers (online), 27 August 2017 - FROM trades and hospitality to IT and care, vocational training is equipping Aussies with the skills employers need.

National Skills Week, which begins today, highlights the diversity of vocational education and training (VET) and its strong employment outcomes with the 2017 theme “more than you know”.

Brian Wexham, chief executive of National Skills Week organiser SkillsOne, said the event was about making sure parents, the wider public, students and industry all understood the opportunities available.

He said there was particular employment demand in tourism and hospitality, aged care and child care – all of which began with VET.

An extra 19,000 waiters, 11,700 bar attendants and baristas, 43,000 aged and disability carers and 39,000 child carers were forecast to be needed between 2015 and 2020 by the Australian Government’s Department of Employment.

Mr Wexham said new infrastructure and technology had also increased demand in traditional trades and for digital skills.

“Technology is impacting every area of business now so it’s also important to get more people into coding and programming,” he said.

“Even in agriculture, you have drones checking your dams, replacing scare crows, and managing cattle.”

An extra 26,100 electricians, 12,000 carpenters and joiners, 7800 plumbers and 18,000 software and applications programmers are expected to be hired from 2015 to 2020.

Kushal Solanki, who is 100 per cent sight impaired, recently finished his Certificate III in Information Digital Media with TAFE Gold Coast and has now started a Diploma of IT Networking.

He said he took the TAFE pathway because VET offered more one-on-one support.

“At uni you either know your lecturer or you don’t but this is more of a classroom environment and what I am used to,” he said.

Mr Solanki’s disability coach Taghan O’Sullivan, who also studied through TAFE, helps him through his courses.

“I had my daughter then a year and a half off to raise her then studied education support to get back into work and it’s been great,” she said.

“With Kushal, I read out notes, we work on assignments together, and I will get the equipment and Kushal will set it up. I’m learning along the way too.”

National Skills Week events are running across the country. Visit


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