"The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results released this week provide industry with some very sobering data on Australia's future workforce. They show that despite increased funding the performance of our students has consistently declined. The international testing includes both overall performance since 2000 and in comparison with other countries.
"This report should be the alarm bell we all need to hear so that we can get the basics of our education systems right. Our students need to emerge from school with the ability to read, write and add up. They also need to be able to solve complex problems, work in teams, be able to communicate and be curious.
"Without improvements to the skills covered in the PISA report, we risk finding it very difficult to develop the skills needed to succeed in the emerging world of work.
"Clearly we need our education systems to lift their game. The systems are responsible for creating the workforce of the future and they are letting our kids, the community and future employers down.
"The long-term decline in student performance in literacy and numeracy is also reflected in Ai Group's workforce survey data that shows 99 percent of businesses are affected by low levels of literacy and numeracy.
"Ai Group survey data also shows the difficulty employers have in recruiting employees with STEM skills, particularly in occupations like technicians, trades workers, professionals and managers.
"Seventy-five percent of employers are experiencing skills gaps, with significant numbers of employers having to internally resource education and training strategies to improve literacy, numeracy, and STEM skills.
"This is why the Australian Industry Group has called on governments to boost investments in language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy (LLND) programs, as well as building a STEM skilled workforce.
"While all governments are working hard to address these issues, it is clear that they must now work together and make a concerted effort to improve student outcomes in areas of critical skills gaps to ensure we have the workforce employers need today and into the future," Mr Willox said.
Tony Melville – 0419 190 347