$476 Million Skills Fund Launched
23 January 2015 at 10:29 am
The Abbott Government is claiming it will create up to 200,000 training places for Australian workers with the launch of its $476 million Industry Skills Fund.
Assistant Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the training places would be created over the next four years and that the Fund was a key element of the Abbott Government’s Industry, Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.
It comes as the Government was criticised for not keeping up pace with its own job creation targets.
“This is a new way of providing support to businesses that need to upskill or retrain their employees to enable their business to grow, diversify, adopt new technologies, or take advantage of new market opportunities,” Senator Birmingham said.
“For the first time, employers will be supported to decide what training is needed in their business, and which training provider they want to work with, to boost their business productivity and competitiveness.”
However Birmingham said priority would be given to small and medium-sized businesses, including micro businesses, as well as to businesses looking to grow in the sectors in which Australia enjoys a competitive advantage, such as advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, medical technology, mining equipment, and oil, gas and energy resources.
“The Industry Skills Fund is a key part of the Abbott Government’s ambitious program of vocational education and training (VET) reform to lift the quality of both training providers and their courses, enhancing the contribution VET makes to the employment prospects of students and the competitiveness of Australia's economy,” he said.
Businesses wanting support to train workers will be required to make a contribution between 25 and 75 per cent to the cost of training. The co-contribution rate will depend on the number of employees, with smaller businesses receiving higher levels of support.
Birmingham said applications will be accepted throughout the year.
More information and guidelines can be found here.