The 2019 Federal Budget is here, and with it comes a bevy of funding announcements that will impact employers, apprentices, trainees and the vocational education and training sector (VET) as a whole.
In late 2018, the Federal Government commissioned the Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) System. This report, headed by the Hon. Steven Joyce, was designed with the specific purpose of highlighting opportunities within the VET sector, and making recommendations based on these findings.
In response to this review, the Federal Government has committed $525.3 million to the VET sector, over five years from 2018-19.
Funding will be spread across a number of initiatives including a new careers-based institute and ambassador, a streamlined incentive program, additional skills shortage payment and a VET information strategy that will promote opportunities within vocational education and training.
Streamlined Incentives Program
Over four years beginning in 2019-20, $44.0 million has been promised to a new Streamlined Incentives Program. Such a program will make it easier for employers to take on an apprentice or trainee. The Program will be responsive to industry and national skills needs with a streamlined payment structure and eligibility criteria, underpinned by a forward-looking National Skills Priority List.
Incentives will be administered by the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network, and will be available to employers from July 1 2020.
Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment
In an effort to target new workers to grow the number of apprentices in training to meet future workforce needs, $156.3 million (and $108.0 million from 2023–24) over four years from 2019-20 has been committed to a new Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment. The payment will be targeted to employers and apprentices in the top 10 occupations where this is a demonstrated need to increased apprenticeship commencements. Furthermore, the program will target new workers specifically, to grow the number of apprentices in training to meet future workforce needs. The new payment is expected to fund up to 80,000 apprenticeship commencements over 5 years of operation.
From July 1 2019, the 10 occupations available for the Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment are: Carpenters and Joiners, Plasterers, Plumbers, Bakers and Pastrycooks, Hairdressers, Vehicle Painters, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics, Wall and Floor Tilers, Bricklayers and Stonemasons, and Arborists.
National Careers Institute/National Careers Ambassador
Over four years from 2019-20, $36.3 million will be committed to establishing a new National Careers Institute and appointing a National Careers Ambassador. The centre will work with industry, government, schools and tertiary providers to improve the level of support on offer for job seekers, apprentices and workers of any age. This support is provided through access to high quality, evidence-based career advice and information.
Vet Information Strategy
Over four years from 2019-20, $6.1 million will has been committed to continuing the VET Information Strategy. This strategy raises the profile of VET and promotes career opportunities through VET pathways, including addressing skills shortages.
National Skills Commission
Over four years from 2019-20, $48.3 million will be committed to a National Skills Commission. The commission will be responsible for developing efficient pricing for training, informed by the work of the Productivity Commission. The commission will also ensure that industry is leading the development of VET qualifications and training products, by overseeing Skills Organisations.
Industry Training Hubs
Over five years from 2018–19, $67.5 million to fund the creation of ten Industry Training Hubs supporting school-based vocational education in regions with high rates of unemployment among young people. Training hubs have the aim of creating better linkages between schools and local industry, and other skills development measures
Other funding announcements
- $8.2 million through an expanded Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians to provide up to 400 scholarships across more trial areas.
- $15.8 million over four years from 2019–20 to extend the Unique Student Identifier (USI) service – currently available only to VET students – to all higher education students.
- $1.8 million over two years from 2019–20 to continue the Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure Project. The third phase of this project will develop a prototype tool to assist education providers respond to the skills needs of employers and industry.
- $350,000 in 2019–20 to support the National Rugby League’s (NRL) VET Apprenticeship Awareness Program. The funding will help the NRL provide ongoing player and community education.
You can learn more about the 2019 Federal Budget by reading the Portfolio Budget Statements 2019–20; Budget Related Paper No. 1.5; Education and Training Portfolio