30,000 vouchers to provide ‘Skills for the Future’ at approved RTOs
In October 06 John Howard announced a major package of skills initiatives worth $837 million over five years that focuses on the need for continuous upgrading of skills over the course of an individual’s working life.
Financial incentives will help people looking to take up a trade apprenticeship in mid-career. Apprentices in traditional trades will also receive support to help them gain the necessary skills to run their own businesses.
The package also looks to developing Australia’s future engineering skills. As well as funding more university engineering places, it offers additional employer incentives so that more Australians gain higher level technical skills at Diploma and Advanced Diploma levels.
Vocational and technical education is a joint responsibility of the Commonwealth and the States and Territories and the PM expects the States and Territories to invest in workforce education and training to complement the Commonwealth’s initiatives. Industry must also play a crucial part.
Skills for the Future provides:
• Work Skills Vouchers $408m
• Support for Mid-Career Apprentices $307m
• Business Skills Vouchers for Apprentices $12m
• More Engineering Places at University $56m
• Incentives for Higher Technical Skills $54m
Work Skills Vouchers
Many adult Australians are without Year 12 or other formal qualifications. From 1 January 07, the Federal Government will make a major investment to support adults who want to further their education.
People aged 25 years and over who do not have Year 12 or equivalent qualifications will be eligible for vouchers valued at up to $3,000. This will assist them with the costs of studying Year 12 or equivalent courses or vocational and technical education courses at Certificate II level. Up to 30,000 vouchers will be provided each year. The vouchers will be redeemable at public, private or community training providers. (Details pdf)
Support for Mid-Career Apprentices
A challenge in upskilling our current workforce is to reach people who do not currently have opportunities to retrain. More mid-career Australians need to be encouraged and supported to take up an apprenticeship. In 2005, only around 4,400 people aged 30 years and over commenced a traditional trade apprenticeship, around seven per cent of total commencements.
From 1 July 07, there will be financial support for mid-career workers aged 30 or more to upgrade their skills through an apprenticeship in a trade occupation in high demand. The amount payable to either an employer or an apprentice will be set at $150 per week ($7,800 per annum) in the first year and $100 per week ($5,200 per annum) in the second year. As an apprentice becomes more skilled in their second year, their award wage will increase. Therefore, the wage subsidy and apprentice payment can be reduced. (Details pdf)
Business Skills Vouchers for Apprentices
Increasingly, self-employment, small business and independent contracting are attractive options for people when they complete their apprenticeship. Employers also value business skills among their workers.
The Government will provide vouchers of up to $500 to apprentices to contribute towards the costs of accredited business skills training. This will assist these people to operate effectively in the business economy, to become self-employed or to run their own small businesses. Up to 6,300 vouchers will be available each year from 1 January 07. These, too, will be redeemable at public, private or community training providers.
Details in pdf format:
Information for Apprentices/New Tradespersons
Information for Registered Training Organisations
Eligible Business Training Units
More Engineering Places at University
The Audit of Science, Engineering and Technology Skills, released by the Department of Education, Science and Training in July ’06, found that the demand for engineering skills is expected to exceed the supply of engineering graduates in the years ahead. To address this potential shortfall, from 1 January ’08, the Government will provide 500 more Commonwealth-supported engineering places at university. Universities will be able to utilise the places in particular areas of engineering which are most in demand. Details pdf.
Incentives for Higher Technical Skills
There is increasing demand from industry for higher level technical qualifications, driven by technological changes and an increasing reliance on knowledge-based jobs. From 1 January ’07 the Government will provide new funding to support Australians in the workplace to upgrade their qualifications. The existing Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program will be expanded to encourage growth in Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications, particularly in engineering. For the first time the program will be open to an employer’s existing workforce and to workers with prior qualifications.
The new arrangements will help 24,800 workers over five years to attain a Diploma or Advanced Diploma. Employers will receive incentives of $1,500 for each worker who commences and $2,500 when they complete their training. Details pdf.
Additional Information: Incentives for Higher Technical Skills (Diploma and Advanced Diploma) Details pdf.
‘Government ad blitz spruiks training vouchers’ was the heading in a Fin Review article, 3 January, reporting how “election year advertising has already begun” with $18 million being spent to promote this program. It IS a large amount but the project also sounds sensible and worthwhile, given our skills shortage and the impact it is having on business and therefore the economy. Do let us know what YOU think if you are involved or eligible???