Outlining the government's strategic approach to addressing the skills challenge, Senator Evans told members of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the 'massive pipeline of investment forecast in the resources sector in the years ahead' would create unprecedented demand for labour skills across a range of industry.
In an example of investment creating demand, including for IT professionals, the Minister cited resources company, Chevron's Gorgon project as a case in point.
'This is a massive and long term project which is expected to create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Following the demand for skilled workers during the construction phase, the company expects to have up to 500 people working offshore on the project.
'There will be another 3000 people working in the company's Perth offices. These will include engineers, IT professionals, human resources managers, and financial officers - all professional occupations,' the Minister said, emphasising that the job creation, once the project is through the construction phase, 'is very much in jobs which require a tertiary qualification.'
According to Senator Evans, the challenge for the Government is to do everything it can to ensure industry has access to the skilled workers it needs to capitalise on the predicted record investment.
He said Skills Australia had projected that 4.6 million additional qualifications would be required over the next 15 years due to employment growth, and he said Australia will need an additional 2.4 million people in the workforce with qualifications at Certificate III and higher by 2015, increasing to 5.2 million by 2025 to meet industry demand.
'I am regularly reminding people that when we talk about the mining industry we are not talking about lots of people in yellow vests digging holes - it's quite the opposite. Most of the jobs in the resources sector are high skilled jobs.'