Chronic skills shortages will tarnish the reputation of the Australian events industry in the next two years unless businesses invest more time to training, the head of Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) has warned.
With the financial crisis fresh in the minds of many businesses, MEA chief executive Linda Gaunt said skills and training has stepped so far to the background that skills shortages have reached “crisis point”.
Stressing that the flow on effects could damage the reputation of the Australian industry, Gaunt coined inadequate training as the biggest challenge facing the industry.
“Without skilled workers, the quality of the industry will drop and Australia’s reputation as a premier events destination will diminish,” she told The Nibbler. “It won’t matter how hard we work to bring business to Australia, because we won’t be able to secure any repeat business.”
Gaunt explained that business models dating back to the financial crisis were behind the trend, but stressed action was now needed to avoid a chronic skills shortage by 2014.
“A few years ago, we saw businesses diversify to survive. When business was slow, they got away with being a jack of all trades and having minimal skills, but the cracks are showing now that things are picking up,” she said.
Gaunt stressed more government support would ease the burden, but added a more willing attitude from employers to send staff to training sessions would help.
"We are trying to make the government understand the complexity of this situation, but if businesses can give up the time to get their staff to training sessions, it will be a step in the right direction,” Gaunt said.