The Morrison Government has announced a $2 billion skills package to deliver economic recovery and growth.
The package is made up of:
- $1 Billion JobTrainer Fund ($500 million from Cth matched by the States and Territories); and
- $1.5 Billion expansion of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage subsidy
What is the JobTrainer Fund?
- The Morrison Government will invest $1 billion to support around 340,700 new training places across Australia to give Australians access to new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities.
- The $1 billion JobTrainer Fund will help school leavers and job seekers access pre- apprenticeships, short courses and full qualifications to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications.
- Courses will be free or low cost in areas of identified need.
- How much funding have governments committed to the Fund?
- The Australian Government has committed $500 million in 2020-21 for the fund, contingent on a matched contribution from the states and territories.
How many training places will be available?
- The fund is expected to support around an additional 340,700 training places.
- The exact number of places will depend on the mix of training. The details will be determined through negotiation with the states and territories.
- This figure is an estimate, based on the assumption that 40 per cent of places would be for short courses and 60 per cent would be for full qualifications. This is subject to agreement with state and territory governments.
When will training places be available?
- The Australian Government is proposing that the fund support training from September 2020.
What training will be funded?
- Funding will be available for nationally accredited qualifications and skill sets in areas of identified and genuine skills needs, based on a list agreed with the National Skills Commission.
- Both short courses and full qualifications will be covered under the fund.
How will the Government work with states and territories?
- The Government will continue to work in partnership with the states and territories as part of ongoing cooperation on economic recovery.
- We’ve proved we can do this.
- In April 2020, Skills Ministers established an emergency subcommittee to develop critical new skill sets to meet the training needs emerging during the crisis.
- In a matter of weeks, four new short courses had been developed backed by a joint $80 million training fund for new nationally accredited training in infection control.
What’s the maximum amount individuals will need to pay for training covered by the fund?
- Training places offered through the fund must be fee-free or low-fee where a nominal fee is required under state or territory regulation.
Can this training be conducted online?
- Yes, depending on the qualification or skill set selected by the student and the delivery arrangements of the relevant registered training organisation.
What happens if individuals are unable to complete their training? Will they have to pay anything back?
- The qualifications and skill sets funded via the JobTrainer Fund will be in areas of genuine skills need and registered training organisations will be selected by states and territories on the basis that they have the capacity and capability to deliver high-quality training in the identified areas of skills need. However, if students are unable to complete their training, they will not be required to repay the cost.
How long will the JobTrainer Fund operate for?
- The fund is proposed to operate from September 2020 to 30 June 2021.
Can this fund be used by providers to subsidise other courses not covered under JobTrainer?
- The fund will only be available for nationally accredited qualifications and skill sets in areas of identified and genuine skills needs, based on a list agreed between the National Skills Commission and states and territories.
Will state and territory governments get a say in what nationally accredited qualifications and skill sets will be covered by the fund?
- The list of qualifications and skill sets funded via the JobTrainer fund will be agreed between the National Skills Commission and state and territory governments. State and territory governments will then determine which qualifications and skill sets tot priorities from the agreed list, with focus on training in areas of anticipated employment growth.
How does the JobTrainer Fund fit with the Higher Education Relief Package?
- The tertiary sector has a crucial role in supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and future growth and prosperity.
- The JobTrainer Fund and the short courses recently made available in higher education are supporting individuals out of work to use the time to upskill or retrain in areas of skills need. Together, these initiatives will help position Australians for future job opportunities and support longer-term productivity.
Supporting Apprenticeships and Trainees wage subsidy
What is the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure?
Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure provides a wage subsidy to help employers to keep their apprentices and trainees in work.
How much funding has the Government committed to this measure?
- In March 2020, the Government announced $1.3 billion over two years for this
- As part of the recent announcement by the Government, a further $1.5 billion will be made available to expand and extend the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy.
How many businesses and apprentices will be supported through this extension?
- The expansion of this measure means the Government is now supporting almost 90,000 businesses employing around 180,000 apprentices throughout Australia.
Who is eligible for assistance?
- Eligibility for the measure will be increased from small businesses, to include medium-sized businesses with 199 or fewer employees.
- Businesses need to have an apprentice in place on 1 July 2020.
- In addition, employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re-engage an out of trade apprentice or trainee are also eligible.
How much is the subsidy?
- The wage subsidy will cover 50 per cent of wages paid to apprentices and trainees, up to $7,000 per quarter.
Why are we extending the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure?
- The wage subsidy will support businesses to manage cash-flow challenges and help small businesses retain their apprentices and trainees. This will help to ensure the continued development of the skilled workforce that employers need.
- The measure will maintain Australia’s pipeline of skilled workers throughout the recovery by helping businesses to stay open and keep their apprentices where they belong; in work and training.
- The support will prevent future skills shortages in areas that will be crucial for economic recovery.
What has been the take-up of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure so far?
- Through the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure the Government has finalised claims for 81,212 apprenticeships and traineeships, to assist 46,573 employers, resulting in a total of $365.5 million in payments.
- This covers the period from 2 April to 9 July 2020.
What other support is the Australian Government providing to apprentices and trainees?
- The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure is in addition to support already available including:
- $156.3 million for the Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment, to provide incentives for employers and apprentices in areas of national skills shortage
- $44 million for a new streamlined Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships program, to make it simpler and easier for employers to take on an apprentice or trainee
- $60 million was invested for a second phase of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy trial, supporting 1,630 places, and
- more than $350 million investment already provided every year to employers under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.
- Additionally, the current AASN service delivery arrangements have been amended to extend access to additional In-Training Support Services to apprentices who have been suspended or cancelled. These services assist apprentices who are experiencing problems or are facing barriers to completion of their apprenticeship, and may include employer mediation, mentoring, counselling, career guidance and referral to other support.
- A new apprentice and trainee re-engagement register has been established, managed by the National Apprentice Employment Network, to support apprentices and trainees who have been displaced as a result of the recent economic downturn, and will assist individuals to find new work placements.
What additional support is being provided by state and territory governments?
- States and territories have begun to mobilise and to strengthen existing targeted responses to support suspended and cancelled apprentices and trainees, noting initiatives vary across the country. A working group has been established by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to address these issues.
- Additional support includes the establishment of re-engagement registers to assist with the recommencement of displaced apprentices, access to free vocational training and/or the waiving of fees for training associated with their apprenticeship, additional subsidies for employers taking on displaced apprentices.
What period are medium businesses covered under this program?
- Eligibility for the measure will be increased from small businesses, to now include medium-sized businesses with 199 or fewer employees who had an apprentice in place on 1 July 2020. The measure will also be extended by six months to cover wages paid between 1 July 2020 and March 2021.
How many extra apprentices are expected to be covered as a result of this expansion?
- An additional 20,000 businesses and 63,000 apprentices will be supported under this expansion, with the wage subsidy now supporting almost 90,000 businesses employing around 180,000 apprentices throughout Australia.
Does this new measure only apply to those not eligible for JobKeeper? Could a business who receives JobKeeper and then goes off it at some point be eligible?
- While the wage subsidy is not available to apprentices and trainees receiving JobKeeper for the same period, where businesses cease receiving JobKeeper they will be eligible to apply if they had an apprentice or trainee engaged on 1 July.