$2B fed govt boost for training, apprentices

The federal government is set to announce a $2 billion vocational education and training package with the bulk of the funds directed at continuing the 50 per cent wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees and increasing the size of businesses that can access it.

The package, dubbed JobTrainer, is an extension of what was announced earlier in the year when $1.3 billion was made available to small businesses, with less than 20 staff to cover 50 per cent of apprentice or trainee wages.

This new package, which will be formally announced by prime minister Scott Morrison today, is expected to expand on the previous announcement and apply to larger businesses with up to 199 staff that have an apprentice on the books as of July 1, 2020. It is expected to run through until March 2021.

The other key plank of the announcement is a commitment by the federal government to commit $500 million to boost the vocational education sector providing each state agrees to a nationalised set of rules with more transparency.

Both The Real Media Collective and The Print and Visual Communication Association welcomed the news.

The Real Media Collective CEO Kellie Northwood said additional funding for apprentices and trainees is always useful but pointed to transitional training and upskilling as what is most needed in the sector.

“We welcome the subsidy support for apprentices and school leavers, as most of our members are small business operators the less than 199 employees will see our members have the opportunity to directly benefit,” Northwood told Sprinter.

“Last year we submitted a program ‘I’ve had a GAP-full’ where we were looking to encourage school leavers to come into the industry and trial all aspects of our employment from apprentices to finance, sales and marketing roles.

“Our industry is rich in opportunity and JobTrainer could be of real benefit as our industry recovers and looks to continuing the next generation of talent.

“There is one area of review however, and that is across what I often refer to as ‘transitional training’. Our industry has a need to upskill, cross-skill and diversify our existing teams and we will be reviewing all government stimulus packages to understand how we can develop skills and stabilise employment across the industry.”

PVCA CEO Andrew Macaulay said president Walter Kuhn had been working with government in consultation on this for the last couple of weeks and the association is thrilled with the outcome.

“Younger employees are going to be disproportionately affected by a downturn but there has been a long issue with skills funding in Australia,” Macaulay told Sprinter.

“We see this that as being long needed and part of the message that this industry association has been giving government for a very long time.

“It’s needed for the skills base of Australia, for the employability of young people and the increase of productivity and the sustainability of Australian manufacturing.”

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