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Albanese Government Allocates $3.7 Billion Investment in Skills and Training for Future Workforce

Albanese Government Allocation For Investment in Skills and Training

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The Albanese Government has announced a significant investment in the skills and training of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, with an additional $3.7 billion to be allocated over the next five years. The investment will be used to negotiate a National Skills Agreement (NSA) with the states and territories, with an additional $400m set aside to provide 300,000 additional TAFE and VET fee-free places.

Collaborative Investment to Address Skill Gaps and Build a Dynamic Workforce for Australia’s Future

The investment reflects the government’s commitment to working collaboratively with the states and territories to deliver high-quality, accessible education and training to equip Australians with the skills they need for secure work. The investment is also intended to address skill gaps for employers and provide opportunities for Australians to acquire the skills needed to take advantage of the country’s growing job market.

The NSA will take the total Commonwealth investment in state training systems to $12.8 billion over five years. The investment will be directed towards the achievement of agreed national priorities and VET reform areas, which include:

Foundation skills

Addressing the needs of the estimated three million Australians lacking essential language, literacy, numeracy, and digital skills for work, career progression, and completion of vocational education and apprenticeships.

Targeted fee-free TAFE courses

Offering 300,000 fee-free places in high-demand sectors such as care and support, clean economy, manufacturing and sovereign capability, agriculture, construction, hospitality, cybersecurity, technology, and tourism.

Closing the Gap for First Nations students and apprentices

Work closely with First Nations communities and training providers to support skill development that aligns with career opportunities and supports Indigenous advancement.

Women’s participation and gender equality

Supporting women to enrol and complete VET courses and apprenticeships in better-paid occupations while encouraging men to participate in fields traditionally dominated by women.

Completion rates and support for students facing barriers

Improving completion rates and outcomes for VET students and apprentices, focusing on those facing barriers and underrepresented in the workforce, including people with disabilities.

TAFE Centres of Excellence

Partnering with industry, universities, and governments to address critical challenges such as the transition to a clean economy, manufacturing and sovereign capability, and care and support.

VET Workforce Blueprint

Developing a VET workforce capability blueprint in partnership with the sector to support a high-quality VET workforce that teaches industry-relevant curriculum and strengthens the sector.

The government’s partnership approach has already yielded results, with the delivery of a 12-month agreement that has created 180,000 fee-free TAFE and VET courses this year. However, there is still much work to be done, as Australia faces an acute skill shortage, with the number of occupations experiencing a skills shortage almost doubling from 153 in 2021 to 286 in 2022.

The government’s investment in skills and training is a timely response to the country’s growing skill shortage, and is essential to ensuring that Australia has a more dynamic, higher quality, and more resilient VET sector to deliver the future workforce. With the Commonwealth, state, and territory governments committed to working in partnership to finalise the NSA to start by 1 January 2024, the investment is a significant step towards a brighter future for Australia’s VET sector.

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