Expanding apprenticeships and international recruitment: bridging the skills gap


Workers gathered around

How an international recruitment drive, and expanding apprenticeships are helping to fill Australia’s skills gap in critical sectors. Alliance businesses are uniquely placed to help ease the pressure in two critical sectors.

Arguably the most pressing issue facing the Australian labour market is our national skills shortage.

Healthcare workers in short supply

This is described as ‘staggering’ by the National Skills Commission (NSC) after an analysis of national occupation shortages by this government body found that a number of key sectors are disproportionately impacted. These include the healthcare sector, where nurses and support workers are in short supply, with skilled trades and technicians the other key occupations in demand. 

A tight labour market

The NSC's 2023 Skills Priority List (SPL) identifies specific occupations that are currently in shortage or at risk of a future shortage. The data indicates 36% of occupations are experiencing national shortages. These include key workers such as registered nurses, aged care support workers and disability support workers. Trades in the construction sector remain in persistent shortage, and there is a growing demand for digital and IT skills across all occupations.

One of the report's recommendations to alleviate skills shortages is to, ‘…improve VET and apprenticeship completion outcomes’ – something our brand, Apprenticeship Careers Australia (ACA) is uniquely placed to do. As a group training organisation (GTO) it has a long history of partnering with government bodies to implement training programs across various sectors which are worth touching on here. 

ACA partners with government to tackle significant skills shortages 

In FY21, Apprenticeship Careers Australia (ACA) was appointed to deliver the NSW Government initiative More Jobs More Care (MJMC), a two-year program to support the community care sector through investing in training and retention of new support workers
The project was funded until September 2022, and upon completion, ACA influenced an increase in participation in the NDIS sector to support people living with disability across NSW with:

  • 3443 new candidates enrolled into training 
  • 1707 candidates gained an employment opportunity 
  • 312 combined study with employment via a Traineeship 

In-home aged care workers

In February 2022, ACA was awarded contracts for the provision of home care support workers in South Australia and the Northern Territory, along with rural and remote locations.
In fulfilling these contracts, ACA played an important role in addressing the critical skills shortages in the in-home aged care sector, helping aged care providers attract, train and retain new and existing workers to the sector.
During FY23, ACA exceeded the Government’s forecasts and retention figures by assisting almost 650 people into positions as personal care workers with 82 per cent of those still in employment.

Women in male dominated trades

Historically, occupations with a strong gender skew are more likely to be in shortage than occupations with more of a gender balance. To help the automotive industry in NSW, ACA’s Women in Auto program launched to encourage women to join the automotive industry – tackling gender stereotypes and enhancing career opportunities for women.  As a result, ACA are seeing an increase in females taking on apprenticeships in this traditionally ‘male’ industry. Another initiative in FY24 is addressing skills gaps in construction across NSW, with training for thousands of crane operators.

Sister brand Alliance Nursing is addressing the skills shortage in another sector with a persistent deficit - healthcare.

Addressing the nursing skills shortage through international supply chains

Alliance Nursing strengthened its commitment to sourcing nurses from international markets to help address these critical staffing deficiencies.

In FY23, the brand relaunched live internatrional roadshows for the first time since the pandemic, supported by a reinvigorated marketing campaign and resulting in the busiest year ever for the international team. Hundreds of new working holiday visa and sponsored nurses from the UK and Ireland started working for Alliance Australia, a significant increase on the prior year, meaning Alliance Nursing could provide increased support to hospitals and facilities across the country.

Flexible and nimble

The combination of an ageing population, increasing healthcare needs, and a limited pool of qualified professionals means our workforce crisis is likely to persist. Recruitment brands must be flexible and nimble to in responding to the shifting needs of the labour market - and we’re proud that our group is able to play a significant role in tackling this crisis on so many different fronts


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