This content is under review and will be transferred to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources as a result of the Administrative Arrangements Order made on 5 December 2019 with effect from 1 February 2020.

A skilled workforce


The Australian Government is committed to delivering a vocational education and training (VET) system that will deliver the skilled workers needed by Australia’s small businesses to help them grow and prosper. There a range of initiatives and support that will strengthen the VET system and provide small businesses with support to take on more apprentices in areas of skills shortage.

Vocational Education and Training

In April 2019, as part of the Budget, the Government announced the $525.3 million Skills Package: Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow. The Skills Package responds to the Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) System (Joyce Review), which found that while the VET sector is strong, there are challenges ahead that need to be addressed to ensure it delivers outcomes for students, job seekers, employers, industry, and businesses.

The Skills Package puts in place immediate measures to address the issues highlighted by the Joyce Review, while laying the groundwork for longer-term reform. The Skills Package is designed to help Australians get the skills they need to participate in the labour market, boost apprenticeship and other skills pathways, and improve choice. Taking these steps will ensure that the VET sector is trusted, dynamic and adaptive, so that it can provide quality training and so that businesses, including small businesses, can grow and prosper with a skilled workforce.

For more information visit the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow page on this website.

Skilling Australians Fund

The Government’s Skilling Australians Fund helps deliver thousands of additional apprenticeships and traineeships by working in partnership with state and territory governments.

The Fund has provided over $330 million in matched funding from the states and territories since it commenced in July 2017, delivering around 80,000 apprentices, trainees and employment-related opportunities.

Priority is given to state projects that support occupations in high demand, those with a reliance on skilled migration, in future growth industries, and in rural and regional areas.

A number of state projects funded through this program have supported small business including Western Australia’s Employer Incentive Scheme and the Targeted Apprentice and Trainee Grant for Small Business program in Tasmania.

For more information visit the Skilling Australians Fund page on this website. 

Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers

The Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program assesses the skill level of eligible individuals aged 45 to 70 and provides tailored advice on transitioning into new roles, upskilling in a current role or industry, pathways to a new career and referral to relevant education or training.

For more information visit the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program page on this website.

Skills and Training Incentive

The Skills and Training Incentive is an opportunity for employers to assist workers aged 45 to 70 to update their skills. The incentive, a co-payment of up to $2,000, supports eligible workers that have had a Skills Checkpoint assessment to undertake recommended training so both businesses and workers are better prepared to adapt to change. The incentive payment must be matched by the worker or their employer.

For more information visit the Skills and Training Incentive page of this website.

Helping young people transition from school into training

The Government is investing $50.6 million to pilot ten Industry Training Hubs in key locations across Australia. The Hubs will enable young people to build skills and choose occupations in demand in their region. They will create better linkages between schools and local employers, and reposition vocational education and training as a first choice option.

The Hubs will target year 11 and 12 students and provide career advice and mentoring. This will help address persistent high youth unemployment and give local young people the opportunity to start towards a rewarding and satisfying career.

For more information visit the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow page on this website.

Supporting foundation skills

The Foundation Skills for your Future Program will support more than 11,000 employed or recently unemployed individuals throughout Australia to identify and address literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills needs, which may affect their ability to obtain or retain employment. From 2020, individuals can refer themselves, or employers can identify individuals or a group of employees who could benefit from additional training.

For more information visit the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow page on this website.

Implementing national career guidance

The National Careers Institute will help people access vital career and education information, through a web portal in 2020. The web portal will be a one-stop shop to help people navigate between career choices at all stages. The Institute will also deliver a grants program to grow partnerships between schools, training providers and employers, including small business.

For more information visit the National Career Institute page on this website.

Supporting women’s economic security

Economic opportunity, and the security it affords, lies at the heart of the Australian Government’s vision for a vibrant, safe and cohesive Australia. When women do well, their families do well, and our economy and nation prosper. The Government demonstrated its commitment to women’s economic security by introducing the first Women’s Economic Security Statement in 2018, which provides $151.4 million over five years to promote greater choice for Australian women. The initiatives contained in the Statement target key areas that promote greater choice for Australian women by:

  • boosting their skills and employability
  • encouraging their return to work
  • helping them to establish their own businesses
  • improving their economic recovery following critical life events, such as family and domestic violence and separation.

For more information visit the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.