Job skills to better tomorrow - Federal Budget Edition

The vocational education and training (VET) sector is receiving an investment of $525 million over a five year period to equip workers with the skills they need. 

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The Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment has been created to support up to 80,000 new apprentices over the next five years. Apprentices will be eligible for $2,000 incentive payment, receiving $1,000 after 12 months and $1,000 at the completion of the apprenticeship. Employers will also receive a total payment of $4,000, receiving $2,000 after 12 months and $2,000 at completion. This is in addition to the existing standard employer incentives for apprenticeships of $1,500 at commencement and $2,500 at completion. 

Eligible occupations include carpenters, joiners, plumbers, air-conditioning/refrigeration mechanics, bricklayers/stonemasons, plasterers, vehicle painters, tilers, arborists, hairdressers, bakers and pastry cooks. Eligible occupations will be reviewed annually to ensure current and expected skills shortages are captured. 

The introduction of a new foundational language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills program will help to better individuals skills that are needed in education and employment. Eligibility criteria applies, and participants must: 

  • Be between 15 and 44 years of age as well as being an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 

  • Have left secondary school education. 

  • Be employed or recently unemployed and not registered for an employment services program. 

Investments will be made over a four year period to Skill Organisations in areas of human services care and digital technologies. These organisations around the country will trial new ways to update and develop VET qualifications to help meet the growing need for skilled workers. 

Over four years, the Government will establish a National Careers Institute (NCI). The NCI will be driving research into future skills and the national labour market, including arising technological areas such as automation and artificial intelligence. The NCI also aims to help in raising the profile of the VET sector while providing individuals with access to education and career information in one web portal.

Cristy Houghton