International education is a major economic contributor to WA, generating approximately $2.1 billion in export income and 12,000 full‑time jobs (one full‑time job for every 5 international students).
Today’s students are facing a rapidly changing future and technological change will continue to be a driving influence. A growing proportion of jobs will need people who can interact with and coordinate people, as well as solve complex problems, think creatively and use technological tools. Flexible classrooms and breakout spaces are supporting new models teaching and learning approaches by providing spaces that match an individual’s learning needs, style and pace. Rapidly changing technologies and innovation are also impacting facility and equipment needs of the education and training sector. Equipment and software are becoming increasingly technical and complex, resulting in increased costs.
Sector challenges and opportunities
The education and training sector seeks to address inequities in society by providing educational resources to all students, regardless of their circumstances. Education throughout life can help address entrenched intergenerational disadvantage. A cooperative effort between government agencies responsible for health, welfare, housing and education is particularly beneficial for vulnerable children as they face the greatest risk of falling behind when transitioning to school. The collocation of health, community support services and high‑quality early learning can increase access to these services and help intervene in the cycle of disadvantage.
Population change is also impacting the education and training sector. Many of Perth’s new and existing suburbs are experiencing high rates of population growth, resulting in a number of schools being at capacity or expected to reach capacity soon. New school sites have traditionally been secured through planning and subdivision processes. For schools in new suburbs there are some challenges with unexpected demographic profiles and the timely availability of school sites. For existing suburbs, where urban infill is occurring, matching school capacity to increasing demand is more difficult.
Schools in inner and middle suburbs often have several site constraints. Transportable school buildings have been used as temporary, relocatable buildings as a way to add capacity and cater for fluctuating enrolment demand over time. However, transportable buildings were originally meant to be used for short periods to deal with temporary demand and should not restrict students’ access to open sport and recreation space.
Conversely, education and training facilities in some regional and remote locations in WA are facing reduced demand as populations decline. Families and individuals often move to larger cities due to limited quality education and training in these locations. Smaller school sizes, particularly in secondary schools, reduce the breadth of the education curriculum available. If this trend continues, it will impact regional and remote WA’s liveability, and some regional and remote students may be further disadvantaged compared to their city counterparts.
At the vocational and tertiary education levels, lifelong learning trends are increasing the frequency and demand for training and higher education. To keep pace with technology and other changes, there is an ongoing need to upskill, reskill and build knowledge multiple times throughout our lives. Training and skills are important elements for growth and development in a rapidly changing world. Fostering knowledge, talent and skills is an important ingredient in WA’s prosperity. To ensure WA is resilient to a more technologically complex and automated environment, and sufficiently skilled to respond to industry growth opportunities, vocational training and higher education need to be accessible and evolve.
To ensure training services are easily accessible by a broader range of the population, vocational training facilities are increasingly being built close to public transport nodes and activity centres. However, it is currently challenging to identify and secure sites in these locations.
Planning for future skills and qualifications in the defence industry requires consideration of extended lead times for federal defence contracts and the impact of rapid technological change. To plan for a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the changing needs of WA’s defence industries, the WA Defence Industry Workforce Office was established as part of the commitment made by the WA Government in its Western Australian Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan. The WA Defence Industry Workforce Office leads the development and implementation of workforce development plans to support the WA defence industry, which includes close engagement with the defence industry to understand industry needs, developments and future trends. Supported by the departments of Training and Workforce Development, and Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, the office works closely with a range of education and training providers, including relevant universities, to ensure that skills, education and training curriculum, equipment and infrastructure needs are met.
For further information, refer to: https://www.southmetrotafe.wa.edu.au/specialist-training-facilities/WADIWO