The JobTrainer package has two parts. The first part, worth A$1.5 billion, is aimed at keeping those already in apprenticeships and traineeships employed. The second part is aimed at school leavers and those looking for work. It provides A$500 million for vocational education and training courses. That funding is conditional on matching funds from state and territory governments.
The Australian Government recently announced it’s $1 billion JobTrainer initiative. The funding is provided through a $500 million contribution by the Australian Government and a contribution of $500 million by the state and territory governments. It is expected to include a mixture of free and/or low cost courses targeted at reskilling and upskilling Australians which is anticipated to be announced before September. There will be up to 340,700 training places available with the breakdown by state as follows: Australian Capital Territory – 5,700; New South Wales – 108,600; Northern Territory – 3,200; Queensland – 68,500; South Australia -23,500; Tasmania – 7,100; Victoria – 88,900; and Western Australia – 35,200. The newly formed National Skills Commission has identified health care, transport, retail trade, wholesale trade, manufacturing, postal and warehousing as growing sectors with jobs in demand. The states may also identify additional industry sectors as priorities in their footprints.
Review scope of registration:
RTOs can get ready to respond to the funding opportunities provided by the JobTrainer Scheme in reviewing your current scope of registration and product offerings now so as to anticipate courses that will be subsidised by the government. There may be specific stand-alone units or skill sets that you need to apply to ASQA for so as to be ready to offer them under your state’s funding arrangements. Part of that process should be determining what resources (learning and assessment) you will need to deliver those in demand programs.
Identify government funding opportunities:
It is expected in the first instance that RTOs with current funding agreements in place with state training authorities will be given the opportunity to apply to deliver additional courses under JobTrainer. Those providers already offering apprenticeships and high demand courses in priority areas will be at an advantage out the gate. Microcredentials which could include stand-alone units of competency or skill sets to be delivered as short courses have been proposed by the government as included in the subsidised programs. It remains to be seen if non-accredited courses will be funded in this scheme. Providers who do not currently offer government funded programs should not despair as there may be opportunity to apply in the states you operate in but you will need to monitor developments very closely over the coming months. Another strategy could be for you to partner with RTOs who have existing funding contracts in place with the view to deliver on their behalf under a third party arrangement so you can support them with any increased demand or overflow.
Scale your operations:
RTOs who expect to deliver JobTrainer courses should commence planning now to build capacity so as to be able to handle an increase in enrolments once the funding is available. This should include reviewing your current training and assessment strategies and delivery models. In particular, if your RTO has been delivering emergency remote training and assessment the transition to a new hybrid delivery model incorporating online delivery should be an urgent priority. Delivering some of your training and assessment online is an effective way to scale your operations. Recruiting sufficient trainers and assessors for the expected increase in enrolments is also an important consideration to start planning for. The earlier you commence your recruitment processes the better placed you will be in ensuring you have secured appropriately qualified staff. A competitive training market will likely result in quality trainers and assessors being high in demand too.
Australia is down 150,000 apprentices and will need to keep relying on international workers to fill the looming skills shortage, with WA still recovering from the 30 per cent drop in trainees ahead of the next looming boom.
For the first time since 2001, more Australians are dropping out of apprenticeships and traineeships than finishing them, with completions at their lowest rate since the Howard government.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese yesterday raised the alarm of a “skills crisis” only worsening in communities across Australia, slamming the Federal Government for issuing 500,000 temporary visas for overseas workers that he said should be filled domestically.
WA has lost more than 12,500 apprentices since 2013, representing a 30 per cent drop to 27,957 recorded late last year.