Skills targeted in 2021-22 Federal Budget

The Federal Budget was handed down last night with Skills featuring prominently alongside, tax relief, housing and small business, childcare, economic support, health (including aged care), and women's safety.

Read on below to learn about some of the Budget commitments for education and training which include significant skills system reforms, wage subsidy extensions, and JobTrainer funding.

Skills reform - Boosting skills development across Australia

The Federal budget announcement included a progressive investment in skills reform intended to ensure VET is high quality and accessible and meets the current and future skills needs of employers and learners. Funding allocated progresses from approximately $10.8 million in 2021-22, to $62.4 million in 2022-23, $66.6 million in 2023-2024, and $76 million in 2024-2025.

Measures include;

  • $149.2 million over four years to enhance the role of industry in the VET system through the establishment of new Industry Clusters. The clusters will ensure a strong, strategic industry voice, drive collaboration across sectors by breaking down silos, address strategic workforce challenges, and improve the speed to market of qualifications to meet evolving industry needs. Strengthening the role of industry in the VET system will mean qualifications are aligned to the skills that are in demand by employers, increase workforce productivity, and get more learners into jobs.

  • $30.9 million over four years from 2021-22 to deliver a new National Training Register by rebuilding the platform, to support work with the states and territories to reform qualifications design.

  • $12.1 million to deliver a more consistent approach to apprenticeships and traineeships and improve mobility of the skilled workforce. The measure will also support the development and implementation of systems to better connect individuals, businesses and industry to wage subsidy and apprenticeship incentives information.

Supporting skilled migrants to fill gaps in the workforce

The Government will provide $4.6 million to make the remaining three Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) skills assessment pathway programs demand-driven and move to full cost recovery of TRA’s services. TRA provides skills assessment services for migrants seeking to work in technical and trade occupations so they can fully participate in the labour market and fill employment gaps in a timely manner.

Increasing apprenticeship commencements

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) program, announced in the 2020–21 Budget, provided a 50 per cent wage subsidy to support 100,000 new apprenticeships. The Government will provide;

  • Additional $2.7 billion over four years from 2020–21 to uncap the program and extend the wage subsidy period to 12 months from the date of commencement.

  • Extend the BAC wage subsidy commencement period for an additional six months from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 and support an evaluation of the program.

The Government will also provide $2.6 million for the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network to deliver 5,000 additional Gateway Services to women and provide in-training support services for women commencing in non-traditional trade occupations.

Extending and expanding the JobTrainer Fund

The Government will extend and expand the JobTrainer Fund by providing an additional $500.0 million in funding, to be matched by state and territory governments. The enrolment period will be extended to 31 December 2022, and eligibility will be expanded to include additional select cohorts.

Encouraging university-industry links

The Government will boost financial incentives for universities to enrol students in ‘Industry PhDs’. This will build new employment pathways for PhD graduates and increase collaboration between universities and industry. This measure will introduce a new weighting for students that graduate, having undertaken an industry placement within the first 18 months of the PhD, worth approximately $30,000 to the university per PhD graduate upon completion under the Research Training Program.

Supporting women’s skills, training and career development

The Government will provide $12.2 million over two years to extend and expand the National Careers Institute’s Partnership Grants Program to provide partnership grants for innovative projects that support women’s workforce participation.

Boosting youth skills

The Government will expand the Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians. This funding will enable an additional scholarship round providing up to 240 scholarships that will support young people aged 15 to 24 years in ten disadvantaged regions across Australia to improve their skills and employment opportunities.

Better careers information for youth

The National Careers Institute (NCI) provides careers information to support informed decisions about education, training and career pathways. The Government will extend and expand the select services of the NCI and Partnership Grants Programs.

Follow the link to the Federal Budget Papers

Follow the link to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Portfolio Budget Statement