NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s morning press briefings have become a daily fixture as the Covid-19 crisis has gained momentum in recent weeks. These press conferences have largely been used to usher in the latest necessary restrictions on daily life, so it was a welcome change of tone today when much of the news being shared was on a positive note.
While unemployment has soared to shocking levels as businesses across the country are forced to close, Berejiklian announced that those now facing many months without the prospect of finding a job will be able to access 21 free online TAFE courses across a range of disciplines. The hope is that, via respected and recognised vocational training, Australia’s unemployed will emerge from this unprecedented period with the additional skills and qualifications to secure jobs essential to rebuilding the country's battered economy.
“People can start preparing for when these difficult times are over," Berejiklian said. “You can get qualified over a short period of time... If you haven’t got a job or you’re not working from home it’s an opportunity for you to upgrade your skills, acquire new skills so that you can enter or re-enter the workforce when you finish this difficult time."
The courses on offer have been broken down into five areas of interest: administrative skills; digital impact; health and medical knowledge; leadership performance; and business skills. They cover everything from introduction level word processing and spreadsheet creation, to advanced management techniques, pharmacy training, and website building.
Berejiklian's press briefing today also ended with positive news from NSW’s medical experts. While Australia is still several weeks away from reaching the peak of the pandemic, early indications are that current containment measures, including the physical and social distancing rules that are now mandatory, are ‘flattening the curve’, therefore protecting Australia’s medical infrastructure from becoming overwhelmed. While this is cause for optimism, officials were quick to also urge caution – published figures are only representative of those tested thus far, and community transmission remains an unpredictable element, particularly in NSW. The state has by far the most recorded cases in Australia since the outbreak began, with the total number of infected people currently standing at 2,580 in NSW – more than double the number of the next most impacted state, Victoria, which currently has 1,135 cases.
Daily updates on how the Covid-19 pandemic is progressing in Australia are available via the federal health website.