Nearly 350,000 young Australians who face entering the workforce in a recession will be able to learn new skills for free or nearly free if states sign up to a new billion-dollar training deal.
The federal government unveiled a new skills package last Thursday for school leavers and people looking for work to take up courses in areas like health care, transport, manufacturing and retail.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is backing the plan with $500 million in commonwealth money, to be matched by the states, and has branded it JobTrainer.
“COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover,” he said.
“The jobs and skills we’ll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost.”
It’s expected the money will make a range of short courses delivered via TAFEs and private providers free for students.
Other courses that lead to qualifications including Certificate III and IV and diplomas – more likely to be taken up by school leavers – would be subsidised.
The new National Skills Commission will identify which specific skills shortages they should address that will be critical to Australia’s economic recovery.
The commonwealth funding will hinge on the states signing up to a new overall vocational education agreement with the Morrison government.
The prime minister said in May he wants this new deal to link funding to teaching the skills businesses actually need, simplifying the system, better coordinating subsidies and increased transparency. – AAP