The Federal Government has announced their new JobTrainer scheme, a $2 billion investment in skills and training.
This announcement didn’t come without strings attached; the funding will be made available only if the states and territories agree to overhaul the VET sector so there is consistent funding and transparency. This includes all of them signing up to a new Vocational Education agreement with the Federal Government.
The aim would be to create a funding link that would ensure the skills being taught in Vocational Education match with what businesses are actually looking for, while also creating a simpler system.
And so far it’s looking good. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the Premiers and Chief Minsters have reacted positively so far.
JobTrainer funding will be provided in two ways:
The first part will see $1.5 billion go to extend the existing subsidy to apprentices and trainees by covering 50% of their wages, up to $7,000 per quarter. Employers will not be required to demonstrate reduced turnover, but there is a cut-off in terms of company size. These funds are currently only available to small businesses, but will be made available to medium-sized businesses with less than 199 employees that had an apprentice in place on 1 July 2020.
It is estimated that approximately 90,000 businesses will benefit from the scheme and support around 180,000 apprentices and trainees.
The second part will be split between federal and state funding and is aimed at assisting school leavers and the recently unemployed. It will deliver upskilling via free and low-cost training programs, also known as short courses or microcredentials, from public, private and not-for-profit providers
340,700 training places will be made available from September to offer new qualifications for those that have lost their jobs, and school leavers who are unable to find work because of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
The funding will be available until March 2021.
“JobTrainer will ensure more Australians have the chance to reskill or upskill to fill the jobs on the other side of this crisis,” the Prime Minister said. “COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover. The jobs and skills we’ll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost.”
These short courses will be aimed at the areas of need identified by the National Skills Commission and will likely include
- Postal and Warehousing
- Wholesale Trade
Read more about what experts have predicted about the future of jobs.
While it is unfortunate that this funding will likely not be enough to save every apprentice and trainee job, it is definitely a step in the right direction toward economic recovery and growth.