Photo by David Travis
The government today launched new measures to encourage unemployed Australians to upskill or study in key industry sectors. The JobTrainer skills package will offer free or subsidised courses to Australians and a extend wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees. The newly formed National Skills Commission has been tasked with identifying which skills will be most in demand for Australia's economic recovery, and which courses will supplement these skills.
The federal government has allocated $500 million to the JobTrainer plan with matched contributions expected from state and territory governments to create a $1 billion dollar scheme. Currently, all states and territories of Australia have signed up to the package except for Western Australia. This agreement between federal, state and territory governments will mark the beginning of Australia's vocational education and training sector reform, streamlining course content and costs across the country for a more unified and improved system.
“We will work with States and Territories to develop a list of qualifications and skillsets that will provide job seekers with the skills that are in demand by employers and are critical to the economic recovery.”
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash
JobTrainer will create an extra 340,700 training places for job seekers to gain qualifications, expand their skill set or develop new skills through free or heavily subsidised training courses. Which courses are included within the scheme is yet to be announced but it is expected that in demand, growth sectors such as healthcare, transport, manufacturing, retail and construction will be included.
The $1 billion budget is expected to be split between vocational education training facilities across Australia, allowing some short courses to be accessed for free while other certificate and diploma courses will be heavily subsidised.
“The jobs and skills we’ll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost.”
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison
An additional $1.5 billion dollars will be allocated to the wage subsidy scheme for apprentices and trainees originally launched by the federal government in March 2020. The successful scheme was initially due to finish in September 2020, but will be extended for a further six months until March 2021.
Medium-size businesses with under 200 employees are now also eligible to apply for any apprentices employed by their business as at 1 July 2020. The wage subsidy scheme assists employers to maintain their staff by covering 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage, up to $7,000 per quarter.
For further information on how to apply for the subsidy, including information on eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider
“The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy will now help almost 90,000 businesses employing around 180,000 apprentices and trainees throughout Australia,”
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships Steve Irons