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There is No Such Thing as an ‘Unskilled’ Worker

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tasmanian Labor Senator, Anne Urquhart, has launched a broadside against employers who are unfairly treating unskilled workers in her first speech to the Australian Senate.

Senator Urquhart cited the AMWU Food Division, which she said had long sought to ensure so called ‘unskilled’ workers are recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Senator Urquhart said that achieving this had met with strong resistance from some employers. There was a fear that providing workers with recognition for their skills would cost employers more money and provide no additional benefits.

“Having been one of those unskilled workers, I know what is needed to run the machines in a factory, to run tests in a laboratory and also what is necessary to prepare the product for distribution.”

“Through the hard work of my union, the workers in many food and confectionery factories are now recognised for their on the job and other training. This competency based training will provide evidence of workers’ skills and count toward trade qualifications.”

Senator Urquhart acknowledged that the benefits of competency based training could result in an improvement of their skills and ultimately their careers.

“I believe this is borne out by increased productivity levels and, importantly, the morale in those factories has greatly improved.”

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