Submission to the Inquiry into Workforce Australia Employment Services

Submission to the Inquiry into Workforce Australia Employment Services

The Centre for Policy Development, together with The Brotherhood of St Laurence and the University of Melbourne, made a submission to the Inquiry into Workforce Australia Employment Services that puts forward a number of recommendations to reform Australia’s employment services system.

It found that the current employment and training system is failing jobseekers by not building the capability and confidence they need to achieve long-term economic security, instead leading to job outcomes that are short-term and insecure. Those who face complex barriers to work were significantly underserved, trapping too many marginalised individuals in long-term poverty and disadvantage.

The submission highlights that it will be necessary to shift towards a collaborative, people- and place-centred and industry focused approach to service system design and delivery in order to transform the employment services system into one that allows jobseekers, business and communities to thrive.

To achieve this it recommends:

  • A mindset shift; from a deficit and compliance lens to a focus on investing in people’s capabilities.
  • A flexible place-based universal system; that shifts from a one-size-fits-all, any-job-is-a-good-job model to one that is tailored and shaped by local conditions and individual needs.
  • An evidence-informed, person-centred service and practice model; that builds capability and confidence to pursue meaningful career and life goals, connects to skills and training for quality jobs, and invests in employers to create demand-side opportunities.
  • A change in the role of government; from an arm’s-length ‘purchaser’ of employment services to active co-producer of employment services

The submission notes the significant wellbeing and material security benefits of decent, secure employment, and shows that transitioning away from the current market model of the system will achieve better outcomes for jobseekers, employers, industry and community.