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Monday, 27 November 2017

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian Address to Western Sydney University


I cannot emphasise enough how important creating jobs and providing job security is to me and to my Government.

Since 2011, 410,000 new jobs have been created in NSW, more than 218,000 in the past two years alone – and more than 80% of them full time.

By 2025, I want to make sure that we will have created a million new jobs.

The unemployment rate in NSW today is 4.6% – the lowest in the nation – and youth unemployment is also the lowest in Australia.

It is a jobs boom that is accelerating and extending to every part of our state.

In regional NSW, almost 100,000 jobs have been created over the past six years.

Here in Western Sydney, the growing engine room of our state economy, almost 140,000 jobs have been created over this period – helping make NSW the jobs capital of Australia.

A Government Committed to Creating Jobs

I am proud to lead a Government that is focused every day on jobs and job security for the people of NSW.

But we need to do more

We have worked hard to take NSW from the last-placed state economy in Australia to the clear first – an economy now growing twice as fast as the rest of the nation.

We have transformed our budget position to the strongest in Australia, which has allowed us to invest in infrastructure and services at a rate never before seen.

The Importance of Job Security & Meaningful Work

We want NSW to be a state where a good job enables you to reach your potential, support your family and make our communities stronger.

Where you can use your skills and intellect, and take pride and purpose from what you do.

And where everyone has the opportunity to find meaningful work, notwithstanding their age or stage of career.

Not just workers today – but also those just starting out, students at school and university, and generations to come.

Creating the Jobs of the Future

The economic strength of NSW is built on our infrastructure spend and the diversity of our thriving businesses and industry of all sizes.

Whether it is the engineering and construction companies building our future road and rail networks.

The world-class education and healthcare sectors lifting our quality of life.

The food exporters and tourism operators meeting demand from interstate and overseas.

The advanced manufacturers building cutting edge products and materials.

The technology, finance and services firms powering our state.

Or the next generation of start-ups emerging in Sydney and across regional NSW.

We understand that the best job creation strategy is enabling, supporting and collaborating with our learning institutions, and with business and industry.

Western Sydney is Leading

Here in Western Sydney, we can see this collaboration in action.

Government, learning institutions and business are working together like never before.

Over the next four years more than $22 billion of infrastructure investment – one third of the government’s total commitment – will transform Western Sydney with world-class new transport, road, health, education, sporting and cultural infrastructure.

And off the back of this infrastructure revolution, businesses are investing, growing and employing.

Manufacturers from Arnott’s in Blacktown to Southern Steel in Milperra are expanding across the region.

Global services companies such as Deloitte, PwC and KPMG are growing in the Parramatta CBD, and looking further west.

Hospitals, universities and business are collaborating at Westmead and other health precincts – all creating jobs and rebalancing our economy towards this, our Central City.

The West is entering a new golden era and, 30 kilometres away, the biggest opportunity of all is underway.

The Western Sydney airport will be a new gateway to Australia – but it will be much more than that for the NSW economy.

Like Incheon in Seoul, South Korea, which I visited earlier this year, Badgerys Creek will be a dynamic hub of business, industry and liveability.

It will be home to companies from defence, aerospace, manufacturing, freight and logistics, agribusiness, health, education and tourism.

By the 2030s, it will support more than 30,000 jobs – with the potential for tens of thousands more into the second half of the century.

Education as the Enabler

As our economy changes, new jobs will require new skills, placing new demands on our education institutions – both secondary and tertiary.

I am a passionate believer that education is the most powerful enabler of opportunity.

Every person in NSW deserves a good education that enables them to realise their life ambitions.

That is why the Government is investing record amounts to build and upgrade schools, creating thousands of new classrooms and teaching jobs.

But just as importantly, we are strengthening how we educate students.

We have implemented needs-based funding for all schools.

We are investing heavily in teacher training and professional development.

We are using data to identify schools with most potential to improve their performance, and giving them the support they need to do so.

We have launched a school leadership strategy to empower principals to focus on the priorities that truly matter – the quality of teaching and the progress and wellbeing of students.

At the same time, recognising the vital role of vocational education, we have reformed TAFE to give it a stronger future and align it with the needs of industry.

In giving students the fundamentals of a strong education, NSW leads Australia.

But we must also ensure that our education system is a path to good jobs, meaningful work and long careers.

I appreciate that for many people, the pace of change in our economy and technology can be confronting – raising concerns about future job security.

But for NSW, the opportunities these changes bring far outweigh the challenges.

We have a chance to harness new technologies and support growing industries to create new and exciting jobs.

And if we give our young people the training, skills and confidence to embrace those opportunities, we can make today’s jobs boom last indefinitely.


Industry Must Be More Involved

Building our future education and training system begins with recognising the diverse talents and interests of students today.

About 50% of senior school students in their final years plan to go to university, and we are fortunate that they have a choice of truly outstanding universities here in NSW.

Equally, we have to ensure there are opportunities for those who want to pursue trade and technical pursuits.

A more practical approach for all students that genuinely prepares them for the jobs of the future – from better careers advice to a bigger focus on science and technology.

There is a much greater role for industry to play in those final two years of school.

When I meet business leaders in NSW, one of the most important issues they raise with me is the need for specific skills for specific jobs.

You only have to look at the 350 cranes on the Sydney skyline, or note the 50 tunnel boring machines and roadheaders underground, to see that the construction boom is creating unprecedented demand for trades.

This will only accelerate with the development of our third city further west.

But are we giving students today the opportunity to understand the jobs these developments are opening up?

Getting our business leaders more involved will help us inform and inspire our young people about their career options at a crucial time in their education.

Greater Collaboration Between Universities and TAFE 

In the tertiary education system, the time is right for greater collaboration between universities and our vocational education and training providers – including TAFE.

Good universities change lives, open minds and develop skills.

So too does good vocational education.

We need to break down the traditional barriers between the two sectors, and instead focus on how they can work together to develop the degrees and courses of the future.

Innovative New Approaches

Across NSW, we are seeing new and innovative approaches to education and training.

I particularly commend WSU, where already 20% of your students come from a VET background – and there are more than 300 pathways to convert VET qualifications to degrees.

You are showing the way forward with your ‘21st Century Curriculum’ project to make degrees more relevant to the future of work and develop potential alternative qualifications.

It is a visionary initiative, bringing in students, schools, business and the Western Sydney community to consult on the way forward.

TAFE too is transforming to meet the needs of students and business in the changing economy.

I recently visited the Mount Druitt Skillspoint, where industry leaders and educational experts are delivering hands-on courses – giving students the skills to work in our booming infrastructure and construction sectors.

In Newcastle, another TAFE Skillspoint is focused on manufacturing, robotics and science.

By mid-2018, a further seven Skillspoints will be up and running across NSW, each responsible for different industries and skills.

As TAFE modernises to help business grow and workers find jobs, the private and non-profit sectors are stepping up.

In Penrith I met the inspiring Paul Breen, a former construction executive who runs a program called Productivity Bootcamp.

Productivity Bootcamp is an eight-week course which gives young people the basic skills to work in the construction industry – but also focuses on health, wellbeing and values of commitment, teamwork and adaptability.

It is open to young people leaving school, the long term unemployed, refugees and Indigenous communities, and it has been a huge success.

Ninety per cent of the trainees who take part in the boot camps go on to full-time work.

Not only is this benefitting local businesses, it is addressing youth unemployment and other social issues.

I am delighted to say that Paul is now expanding the program through joint ventures with TAFE, the NSW Business Chamber, Lend Lease and local councils.

These smart, practical ventures show the way forward – but of course, there is much more to do.

Changes We Can Make Today  

Preparing for the jobs of the future has to be a shared responsibility between government, industry, the education sector and the community.

It demands a sustained, long term commitment.

But there are changes we as a Government can make today – and this morning I am pleased to announce a number of major initiatives to accelerate our progress, backed by almost $80 million in government funding.

We know that 75% of all new jobs rely heavily on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

To encourage and support students in these subjects, we will provide $23 million over the next three years to give public schools in NSW access to cutting edge STEM equipment.

These STEM kits will include virtual reality, 3D printing, film-making and robotics equipment such as Lego Ev3.

And they will be spread across the state, to ensure schools in regional and remote areas are able to take part.

Supporting this major investment in equipment, the Department of Education will provide hands-on, practical training.

Off-site training sessions will ensure that our teachers get the focus they need to make STEM subjects engaging and enjoyable, while course materials will help schools build their curriculum around the new equipment.

To build links with industry, we will invest $10 million to help schools access local business STEM facilities – giving students experience of how new technologies are being used in the real world.

And to coordinate our efforts, we will commit $25 million to set up the NSW STEM Foundation – a partnership with the CSIRO focused on supporting young people considering a STEM career.

In addition to STEM, we are also taking the first steps to overhaul careers advice in schools.

Too often we allow students to go through the final two years of school with only the most basic career education and no clear plan for the future.

We will provide $6 million to help schools transform the way they deliver careers advice with new online tools that give students better information and help them make informed, independent decisions.

We will also act on getting business more involved in the final years of senior school.

We will spend $14 million to create Industry-Education Partnerships across 16 regions of NSW.

This means that business, Chambers of Commerce and training providers will work directly with schools to educate students on career options, provide work experience and mentorships.

It is a new approach that will give business a genuine stake in the future of our education system.

Most importantly, it will give students support and inspiration as they plan for the next stage of their lives.

Longer Term Vision

Ours is a government about action, and these new measures are a direct response to demand from the education sector and business.

They build on the multi-billion dollar investments we have already made in schools, skills and training.

And they complement the work we are doing to strengthen the economy, unleash business and grow jobs in every part of NSW.

They form part of a broader vision for the future of our education and training system, and I acknowledge the leadership of the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, and the Education Minister, Rob Stokes, in driving this strategy.

We know that a system which only prepares young people for a specific occupation is no longer enough when our economy and technology are changing so fast.

We need to give both young people and those already in the workforce the skills and learning techniques to adapt to change and move from job to job throughout their career.

We need to support lifelong learning and retraining, not just a single degree early in life or sporadic course every few years.

We need closer integration of schools and higher education into a single, seamless system that reflects the ambitions we have for our economy and society.

All of us – government, business and educators – must work together and challenge ourselves to build the best possible education system for NSW.


As is the case with our economic and infrastructure agenda, the future of education in NSW is about setting our state up for the next 20 to 30 years and beyond.

It is about laying foundations today for the jobs of the future.

NSW is better placed than almost any other state in Australia to navigate economic and technological change.

We are creating jobs on a scale never seen before.

Our economy is the strongest in the nation and growing fast.

Our businesses are diverse, dynamic and confident.

We are home to some of the best schools, universities and skills trainers in the world.

Today we take the next steps towards a 21st century education system to secure good jobs and meaningful work for everyone in NSW, no matter where they live or what their circumstances – today and for generations into the future.