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Local government workforce and future skills report Tasmania

This study was undertaken to identify the current and emerging skill needs of local government to better position the sector for the future. The report is underpinned by data from the National Local Government Skills Shortage Survey 2017 (the Survey) to which 45 per cent of Tasmanian councils responded. Findings from the Survey reveal: 69 per cent of councils were experiencing a skill shortage and 50 per cent were experiencing skills gaps; Engineers, Town Planners, Environmental Health Officers and Building Surveyors were the top five areas of skills shortage; The key reasons for skills shortages are location of the council, inability to compete with private sector on remuneration, lack of suitably qualified/experienced candidates, reputation and public image of councils, and lack of vocational education and training providers in Tasmania; Just under one half (46 per cent) of councils reported unmet training needs arising from: limited provision of local tertiary and vocational education and training, cost of training and lack of management support; More could be done by councils to share resources and ‘Grow their own’ through programs such as traineeships, apprenticeships and cadetships; and The greatest challenge in addressing skill needs is finding quality trainers to deliver locally and sourcing courses with relevant content., Emerging issues identified include: 69 per cent of councils have done no analysis or forecasting of changing roles/skills requirements arising from digital disruption and technology changes; All councils responding to the survey indicated they need to improve their position in relation to soft skills, particularly design mind set, ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines, digital skills and creativity and entrepreneurial skills; Leadership and resistance to change were the most commonly cited factors hindering staff in gaining soft skills; and In the future, councils are predicting a significant increase in the use of part-time and casual employees and volunteers, a moderate increase in full time employees, a small increase in independent contractors and a decrease in the use of service centres, freelance and labour hire arrangements.