In a surprise 2017 Budget announcement from the Federal Government, $1.5 billion will be allocated to vocational training over the next four years, in an aim to deliver 300,000 new apprentices and trainees.
This new program will focus on occupations that have a reliance on skilled migration and industries identified as growth areas in the future. There is also a solid focus on skills for rural and regional areas.
The fund is great news for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and replaces the old National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, which was set to expire on the 30 June 2017. The VET sector will be relieved to hear that there is funding to fill the black hole left when the Partnership Agreement expires.
This new initiative seems to be a renewed push to attract more school leavers to the Vocational Education sector. Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews said: “While University is a critical element of our education system, a vocational and technical education should be as prized as a University degree”. The fund is expected to assist businesses to grow by addressing critical skills gaps.
We will have to wait and see how this money will be distributed and who the industry winners will be, however, I believe this funding will breathe a sigh of relief for many VET providers expecting to see a reduction in VET funding by the Government in this budget.
By Scott Rogers