The federal budget for 2015 – 2016 was recently announced and it’s good news for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
In a drive to strengthen the VET industry and get skilled Australians into work, the Government is investing approximately $6 billion this year into supporting training that gives vocational students and apprentices the top-quality training they require in order to become employed and succeed in workplaces throughout Australia.
As a press release by Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training, states, the investment into VET includes funding through the Government’s signature Industry Skills Fund. The $664 million Industry Skills Fund is designed to enable employers give their employees the necessary skills to enhance and develop their business.
The Industry Skills Fund will support more than 250,000 training places and offer support services, such as giving small and medium sized businesses and micro businesses skills advice.
Scholarships to train unemployed
Asides pumping millions of dollars into the Industry Skills Fund, the VET sector will also receive 7,500 scholarships, each costing $7,500, in order to assist companies into training people who are unemployed.
Youth Employment Pathways
The Government will also provide organisations with $2,000 to encourage youth into VET, back into school or to enter the workforce. Known as Youth Employment Pathways, the programme is part of the Industry Skills Fund – Youth Stream, which addresses youth employment by offering support to businesses to employ more young people and to assist community organisations into helping youngsters start vocational training or return to school.
The additional funding for the Youth Employment Pathways will help community service organisations provide the services required to assist disengaged people aged 15 – 18 start vocational training, move into work or return to school.
Apprentice Support Network
The federal budget for 2015 – 16 includes $200 million for the Australian Apprentice Support Network. The Apprentice Support Network is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to building a “high quality Australian Apprenticeships system which better supports apprentices and responds to the needs of employers and the economy.”
As the Hon Simon Birmingham said in April this year when he announced the successful organisations that will form the new apprenticeship system, the Apprenticeship Network will make it easier for employers to “recruit, train and retain apprentices and trainees with the ultimate aim of improving Australian Apprenticeships completion rates.”
Supporting the ASQA
The VET sector will also receive $68.7 million over four years to assist the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).
The ASQA is dedicated to promoting quality training so that students, employers and industry have confidence in the nation’s training sector.
In addition to the above, this year’s federal budget will allocate $1.8 billion in funding to support state and territory training systems.
The 2015 – 16 Budget is also providing record Government funding designed to help students undertake higher level diploma and advanced diploma training through the VET FEE-HELP scheme.
With such a vast amount of money being allocated to the VET sector, it certainly seems the Government is committed to building jobs and providing growth and opportunity for Australians.