The nature of work in Australia is changing. Australia’s capacity to grow, compete and thrive in a global economy has become more dependent on employers and all individuals, regardless of background or circumstance, being able to access and use the right skills at the right time.
A strong VET sector is critical to our economy and to helping prepare Australians for the workforce opportunities of today and the future.
Our fast-moving world will need flexible and applied ways of learning, so people can lay strong foundations for their careers and then build further skills and knowledge throughout life to participate in new and changing industries.
The VET sector will play a key role in training new skills, as well as transferring or upskilling existing skills, for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Government measures to strengthen VET
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
The Australian Government is investing $48.3 million to establish a National Skills Commission to oversee the Australian Government's investment in VET. The Commission will examine options for a nationally consistent approach to funding VET qualifications. It will also drive research and analysis of future skills needs across industry to ensure the VET system addresses national labour market priorities.
Skills Organisations Pilots
The Australian Government is piloting Skills Organisations to enhance the role and leadership of industry and to test and trial ways to improve Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector. Three Skills Organisation Pilots have been established in three key industries - human services care, digital technology and mining.
The Skills Organisations are exploring potential design, approaches and opportunities to deepen industry engagement and improve the long-term outcomes of the VET system.
VET Student Loans
In addition to the measures announced in the new Skills Package, the VET Student Loans program is being reviewed. This review will inform potential changes to the program, and the role it plays in the overarching VET funding model. Additionally, the review will look at reducing red tape and improving the provider and student experience while making sure the program is delivering on the Government’s policy objectives.
An evaluation of the existing program and whether it is meeting its policy objectives will be completed in November 2019. A separate review of both providers and students interactions with the program, their journey through the system and identification of pain points will be completed by the end of 2019.
The Australian Government has committed $18.1 million to a range of measures to improve regulation of Australia’s VET sector and support a greater focus on fostering excellence across the sector. The reforms build on the Joyce and Braithwaite reviews, which both identified the need for ASQA to reform elements of its regulatory approach, in particular its engagement with the sector and its educative approach.
For further information, visit the ASQA Reform page
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 Additional Identified Skills Shortage payment
- lowering the age of eligibility for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices Incentive from 25 to 21 years
- increasing support for employers who want to employ apprentices in areas of skills needs, and
- a streamlined employer incentives program, Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships.
Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment
The Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment commenced on 1 July 2019 for employers and apprentices in 10 occupations experiencing national skills shortages. Eligible employers will receive a payment of $2,000 - 12 months after taking on an apprentice, and another $2,000 when the apprenticeship is completed. Eligible apprentices will also receive $1,000 after 12 months and a further $1,000 when they complete their apprenticeship.
These payments are in addition to other payments for eligible apprentices or employers as part of existing Australian Government programs.
To find out more information, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider or call the Australian Apprenticeships Referral Line on 13 38 73.
Streamlined and Simplified Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships
The Streamlined and Simplified Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships (IAA) will make it easier for employers to access financial support for employing an apprentice, as well as simplifying and streamlining employer incentives payments. Under the new Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships program, many employers will be financially better off, making it easier for employers to take on an apprentice.
The National Skills Needs List that underpins incentives for apprenticeships is also being reviewed, informed by consultation with industry and employer groups.
With economic conditions changing rapidly and the full impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on skills needs unknown at this time, the Government has revised the implementation schedule for the IAA program from 1 July 2020 to 1 July 2021.
For more information, employers can contact their local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider.
National Skills Needs List
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is undertaking a Review of the Australian Apprenticeships National Skills Needs List and will advise the Government on the methodology for identifying skills shortage occupations and the inaugural composition of the replacement list.
Further information about the Review can be found on the Review of the Australian Apprenticeships National Skills Needs List page.
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.
Industry Training Hubs
The Australian Government will invest $50.6 million to trial Industry Training Hubs in 10 regions across Australia with high youth unemployment.
The Training Hubs will:
- aim to improve opportunities for young people in regions with high youth unemployment
- target year 11 and 12 students and provide students with career advice and mentoring
- encourage young people to build skills and choose occupations in demand in their region
- create better linkages between schools and local industry and reposition vocational education and training as a first choice option
- help eliminate persistent high youth unemployment in regional areas.
The Training Hubs will be located in:
- New South Wales (Grafton, Gosford)
- Victoria (Shepparton)
- Queensland (Maryborough, Townsville)
- Western Australia (Wanneroo, Armadale)
- South Australia (Port Pirie)
- Tasmania (Burnie), and
- Northern Territory (Alice Springs).
The first two Training Hubs will be established from January 2020, with the remaining eight from January 2021.
More information is available on the Industry Training Hubs page.
The National Careers Institute was established on 1 July 2019 to provide leadership in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based career development to enable Australians to make informed decisions about their learning, training and work pathways.
The National Careers Ambassador will champion the work of the National Careers Institute.
The Institute is working to simplify and strengthen careers development and information for Australians.
To strengthen the Australian careers development system, the Institute wants to co-design its role, goals and functions through stakeholder engagement.
Share your views and experiences by visiting the Institute’s Engagement Hub.
The National Careers Institute will deliver a grants program to enhance career education and service gaps, foster innovation and cultivate partnerships between industry, employers, schools and tertiary providers.
The program guidelines are currently under development and will be the subject of consultation through a national series of stakeholder consultations.
Provide your ideas by visiting the Institute’s Engagement Hub.
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. This phase is focused 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 courses to meet demand.
The work continues to help workers identify emerging career trends, and empower employers to better plan and prepare for future workforce needs.
Foundation Skills for Your Future
The Australian Government is investing $62.4 million in the Foundation Skills for Your Future Program and the Remote Community Pilots initiative.
The investment will complement existing Government language, literacy and numeracy programs such as the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program and the Adult Migrant English Program.
Foundation language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy (LLND) skills are increasingly necessary for all Australians to improve participation in community, further training and employment.
Foundation Skills for Your Future Program
The Government is providing $52.5 million to 30 June 2023, to support employed or recently unemployed Australians with a means to develop their LLND skills to support them to up-skill or re-skill, undertake further education or training, remain employed or change jobs.
The Department has established a panel of Service Providers (Registered Training Organisations) to deliver the Program. Service Providers are able to submit project applications to deliver contextualised accredited and non-accredited LLND training to eligible participants. Two types of projects are available:
- Employer Workplace Training – developed in collaboration with an employer or industry organisation;
- Personalised training – client centered approach providing tailored training through flexible delivery modes
More information on the Program is available on the Foundation Skills for Your Future Program page.
Foundation Skills for Your Future Remote Community Pilots
The Government is providing $9.9 million to 30 June 2022, to test ways to successfully deliver foundation language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills training and assessment in four remote communities.
The Remote Community Pilots will each be located in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Queensland.
The Pilots aim to:
- improve the language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills of community members in participating Remote Communities;
- identify and develop systemic approaches to language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills training delivery in remote communities; and
- inform future program delivery, new funding arrangements and/or changes to existing programs such as the SEE program.
Each Pilot will be managed by an Indigenous small or medium enterprise to provide tailored, flexible and locally relevant language, literacy, numeracy and digital training and assessment.
As further information becomes available about the Remote Community Pilots it will be published on the Foundation Skills For Your Future Remote Community Pilots page.
Commonwealth Training Scholarships for Young Australians
Commencing January 2020, the Commonwealth Training Scholarships for Young Australians program will provide scholarships to successful applicants of up to $5,000 a year. They will undertake vocational educational and training in one of 10 regional areas experiencing high youth unemployment. Scholarships will target occupations identified in projected growth industries and in-demand occupations within each region.
Scholarship recipients will complete a vocational education course and a 20-day internship. Employers will receive $500 to host the intern and on completion of the course and internship, the participant will receive a $3000 payment.
The 10 regional areas where the scholarships will be available are:
- New South Wales: Grafton and Gosford
- Northern Territory: Alice Springs
- Queensland: Maryborough and Townsville
- South Australia: Port Pirie
- Tasmania: Burnie
- Victoria: Shepparton, and
- Western Australia: Wanneroo and Armadale
Scholarships will be available from January 2020 for applicants who are:
- aged up to 24 years or recently exited from the Australian Defence Force
- not in full-time work at the time of applying
- living in one of the 10 nominated regional areas, and
- intend to commence an eligible VET qualification at the Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level, which leads to an eligible occupation.
Priority is given to individuals who have recently exited from the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and young people who are Indigenous, with a disability or from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
More information about the program, including eligible occupations and how to apply for a scholarship, will be available soon.
Energising Tasmania will invest around $17.0 million over five years from 2018–19 to train a skilled workforce across Tasmania, needed for the energy sector and to support the Battery of the Nation initiative.
The Energising Tasmania initiative will make it attractive for Tasmanians to access vocational education and training to meet this skills need through nationally recognised training.
Fee-free training in priority skills areas will equip Tasmania’s workforce with the expertise needed to build and maintain pumped hydroelectricity, and the electrical and engineering skills to build the interconnection infrastructure with the National Electricity Market.
The Tasmanian Government will deliver Energising Tasmania through a national partnership project agreement with the Australian Government. The Australian Government is working with the Tasmanian Government to determine priority skills needs areas and eligibility.
Energising Tasmania is expected to commence in 2020. More information on the initiative will be available soon.