Skills and Training Budget Overview 2019‑20

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The Australian Government is committed to supporting the vocational education and training (VET) sector though its $525.3 million Skills Package Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow, to ensure Australians can access the training they need for the jobs of today and prepare for the jobs of the future.

This investment will support individuals to develop the skills they need to succeed in Australia's modern workplace, whist providing employers with the workers they need to grow the economy.

The Skills Package will work to ensure Australians can gain the skills needed to support current and future prosperity by providing clear and reliable careers guidance to inform study choices, better foundation skills training so no one is left behind, and more apprentices for jobs in demand.

By providing industry with a pipeline of qualified workers needed to keep our economy strong, while targeting training in areas of skills demand, the Government is working to ensure business' and individuals have the skills they need to actively participate in the workplaces of the future. This investment will ensure Australians have the critical skills to meet emerging industry needs, and keep the economy growing.

VET Sector Reforms

The Skills Package lays the building blocks for reforms identified in the Expert review of Australia's vocational education and training system (Joyce Review), placing industry at the centre and raising the profile of VET as a career pathway of choice. It takes important steps towards longer term funding and governance reforms to help ensure that the VET system is responsive, respected and flexible into the future.

National Skills Commission and Skills Commissioner

The Australian Government is committed to supporting lasting reforms to the vocational education and training sector. The Expert review of Australia's vocational education and training system (Joyce Review), proposes reforms to improve consistency of funding arrangements and deeper industry engagement. By investing $48.3 million to establish a National Skills Commission and National Skills Commissioner, the Australian Government is putting industry at the forefront of national leadership on workforce needs and VET funding. The National Skills Commission will provide strengthened industry leadership in determining and implementing priorities for the VET sector.

The Commissioner will work with industry, the VET sector and states and territories on the best model for a Commission going forward. Further information about the National Skill Commission and how this will affect current arrangements, will be published on the department's website in the coming months.

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Pilot Skills Organisations

The Australian Government is committed to a national vocational education and training sector that puts industry at its core. The Australian Government's $48.3 National Skills Commission will oversee a national model that embeds industry in the development of training products and ensures training meets industry needs, by piloting Skills Organisations. The Australian Government is investing $41.7 million Organisations, to trial new approaches to expand the role of industry in the national training system. Skills Organisations will piloted in two key priority industries, human services and digital technologies, and will lead industry workforce planning to align training with industry skills needs and employment pathways, and will provide an important avenue for industry advice to government. Skills Organisations will put industry at the forefront of setting VET qualifications by developing new training programs and qualifications to help the training system to more quickly respond to industry needs. Skills Organisations will develop standards for industry to accredit high quality registered training organisations (RTOs) and pilot independent industry validation of student's competency. The role of Skills Organisations will be fully developed during the design phase, through close consultation with industry, education providers, state and territory governments, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and other stakeholders. Further information about the pilot Skills Organisations will be published on the department's website.

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Supporting Apprentices

Apprenticeships provide a vital pipeline for skills, particularly trade skills, which are essential to growing Australian businesses and our economy.

The Australian Government's Skills Package will support up to 80,000 additional apprenticeships over five years through:

  • a new skills shortage payment and
  • a streamlined employer incentives program

Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payments

The Australian Government will provide $156.3 million to establish an Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment to boost the supply of skilled workers in occupations experiencing national skill shortages. From 1 July 2019, the AISS will provide an additional incentive for both employers and apprentices in these occupations.

Eligible employers will receive $2,000 at the 12 month point from commencement of the apprenticeship, and an additional $2,000 at completion of the apprenticeship. Eligible apprentices will also receive $1,000 after 12 months, and $1,000 at completion. The AISS payments will be additional to any payments the apprentice or employer may be eligible for under existing Australian Government programs. Further information about the AISS payments will be published on www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au.

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Streamlined and Simplified Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships

The Australian Government will make it easier for employers to access financial support for employing an apprentice by investing $44 million to simplify and streamline employer incentives payments. The Government will also undertake a comprehensive review of the National Skills Needs List that underpins apprenticeships incentives, informed by consultation with industry and employer groups.

The new incentives payments will be available for employers of apprentices commencing from 1 July 2020. Under the new program, many employers will be better off. Employers claiming incentives for an apprentice or trainee who commenced prior to 1 July 2020 will continue to receive payments under the old payment structure. Employers can contact their Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider for further information about current incentives. Further information about the new incentives arrangements will be published on www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au.

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Engaging with VET

The Australian Government is investing in tools to help students and their families, employers, training organisations and the community navigate the skills, jobs and education landscape in Australia. It is essential that Australians have the information they need to make informed choices about the opportunities that VET can provide for initial training, upskilling and re-skilling.

National Careers Institute and Careers Ambassador

The Australian Government is investing $42.4 million to establish a National Careers Institute (Institute) and appoint a National Careers Ambassador (Ambassador) to improve career advice to young Australians and workers transitioning careers. This investment responds to the Expert Review of the vocational education and training sector, which identified the need for clearer and more reliable career information to support Australians to make education and career decisions, and the Government's

The Institute and Ambassador will work with industry, governments, schools and tertiary providers to ensure every working age Australian has access to high-quality, evidence based career advice to support and inform their study and career choices.

The Institute will improve access to information and drive up the quality and coverage of career guidance nationally. By bringing together careers information for young people, job seekers, people looking to change careers and those in a career transition, the Institute will ensure that Australians have the information they need to make informed choices about the opportunities that Vocational Education and Training (VET) can provide.

The Ambassador will lead work to improve access to and quality of information. This includes streamlining career information by providing a one-stop-shop career portal, overseeing partnership grants and raising the profile of VET. By working with industry, governments, schools, tertiary providers and employers to identify gaps in services and opportunities to leverage innovation and best practice, the Ambassador will work to lift the profile of VET and improve the quality of and access to careers advice nationally.

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Partnership Grants

The Australian Government is supporting the development of skills in areas of need by building innovative partnerships between schools, employers and the VET sector. As part of its National Careers Institute investment, the Australian Government will set-up a $10 million competitive grants program to boost partnerships between these key stakeholders, supporting the creation of innovative education and training pathways aligned to the needs of employers.

Grants of up to $350,000 per year, will enable employers to play an active role in supporting people to develop the skills they need for the jobs of the future. This competitive grants program will support education providers, employment providers, industry and local government to work collaboratively to establish initiatives with a strong focus on improving VET pathways that enable Australians to reach their full potential.

Eligibility criteria will be developed in consultation with the National Careers Ambassador, with the application process expected to commence in early 2020. Further information about the grants program, including eligibility and the application process, will be available on the department's website in the coming months.

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Industry Training Hubs

The Australian Government is working to improve opportunities for young people in regions with high youth unemployment through establishing Industry Training Hubs that create better links between schools and local industry.

The Australian Government will pilot ten Industry Training Hubs across Australia over three years to reposition VET as a first choice option and build connections between industry and schools through local workforce solutions. The Training Hubs will encourage young people to build skills and choose occupations in demand in their region and help eliminate persistent high youth unemployment in regional areas.

Hubs will be developed in partnership with industry and state and territory governments to create sustainable employment outcomes for the region and the broader economy, while boosting the reputation of the VET sector and student outcomes. By targeting year 11 and 12 students and providing career advice and mentoring for young people the Hubs will give industry and employers the opportunity to facilitate connections, pathways and programs in areas of skills need. The Australian Government will invest $50.6 million in Training Hubs.

Further information about locations and will be published on the department's website.

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Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure project

The Australian Government is investing $1.8 million to deliver the third phase of the Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure project (the project). Phase Three of the project is focussed on education providers, and will develop a new tool to help tertiary education providers design courses and training to cater for emerging skills. The tool will allow tertiary education providers to identify skill mismatches, and tailor their course offerings to meet demand. This builds on the work already undertaken by the project that helps workers to identify emerging career trends and empowering employers to better plan and prepare for their future workforce needs.

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Skills for the Modern Workplace

The Australian Government is investing in new programs and additional supports for youth and those with low foundational skills, to ensure they can gain the skills they need to participate in the modern and future workforces.

Foundation Skills for Your Future

Foundation language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills are key to Australian's participation in the economy. As the labour market continues to shift towards service industries and non-routine manual or cognitive jobs, workers will need to develop new skills throughout their lives to transition within and between jobs and industries. The $52.5 million Foundation Skills for Your Future program will support workers who are currently employed, or recently unemployed, to identify any literacy, numeracy and digital literacy needs and where appropriate, access training. Foundation Skills for Your Future is expected to commence in early 2020, and further information about how to access the program and eligibility requirements will be published on the department's website closer to that time. In addition, $9.9 million will support the establishment of four delivery pilots in remote communities in Northern Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

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Foundation Skills for Remote Communities

The Australian Government is investing $9.9 million to help Australian with low level language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills in remote communities. Indigenous service providers will deliver four pilot programs in Northern Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. Through exploring the provision of flexible delivery models of training, targeted to the different needs and local conditions of different remote communities, these pilot programs will help individuals to acquire the necessary skills to fully participate in the community and improve their participation in further training and employment.

The Remote Communities Pilots – Foundations Skills for Your Future program will commence in early 2020. To ensure widespread engagement and community benefits, each pilot project will be co-designed with key local Indigenous community members with the involvement of the local Community Development Program providers. Pilot communities will be identified following consultation with local remote communities and providers of foundation skills training. Further information about the pilots, including pilot communities and participation criteria, will be published on the department's website in the coming months.

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Commonwealth Training Scholarships for Young Australians

The Australian Government will invest $8.2 million to support young Australians to enter the vocational education and training sector and gain real outcomes and strong pathways to jobs in areas of skills needs. Eligible young Australians in selected Australian regions experiencing high youth unemployment will be able to access a scholarship of up to $17,500 through the Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians. This important initiative will ensure young Australians have access to the skills they need to participate and thrive in a modern and strong economy.

Scholarships will target occupations identified in projected growth industries and occupations identified as in demand. Scholarships will be available from January 2020 and be available for successful applicants who are:

  • Aged 15-24 years
  • Are not in full-time work at the time of applying
  • Reside in one of the trial areas, and
  • Are intending to commence and eligible VET qualification at the Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level, which leads to an eligible occupation.

Priority will be given to people who have recently exited from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) regardless of their age, Indigenous young Australians, young Australians with disability, and young Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Further information about the Program including identified trial regions, eligible occupations and how to apply for a scholarship, will be published on the department's website shortly.

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Energising Tasmania

To enable Tasmania to train a skilled workforce to build up its pumped hydro capabilities and energy infrastructure, the Australian Government will enter into a national partnership with the Tasmania government.

Energising Tasmania

This partnership funding will provide thousands of Tasmanians with fee free training in the priority skills required for business to commit to regional Tasmania.

The Australian Government will work with the Tasmanian Government during 2019 to determine priority skills needs areas and eligibility to ensure Energising Tasmania delivers on the opportunity to upskill Tasmanians and provide surety for industry investment. Energising Tasmania is expected to commence at the start of 2020, and further information about priority skills needs, eligibility and how to access Energising Tasmania support will be available closer to that date.

The Government will invest around $17.0 million on Energising Tasmania over five years, from 2018–19.

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