Vocational education and training to meet our long-term skills needs
A highly skilled workforce is vital to improving productivity and sustaining strong economic growth. And with unemployment down to 5.1 per cent, it is essential that we invest to increase skill levels so that employers can obtain the skilled labour they need.
This budget provides further initiatives to increase our skills base, building on the substantial investment to date in the vocational education and training (VET) system.
The Government will deliver up to 4,500 pre-vocational places for people interested in a trades career ($20 million) and a further 7,000 School-Based New Apprenticeships ($26 million).
These measures build on related election commitments to:
- establish 24 Australian Technical Colleges for 7,200 students in Years 11 and 12 ($351 million)
- extend Youth Allowance (and Austudy and Abstudy for over 25s) to apprentices ($537 million)
- provide scholarships for apprentices in skill shortage areas ($106 million)
- provide toolkits for apprentices in skill shortage areas ($120 million).
The Government has also committed $5 billion through the Commonwealth-State Training Funding Agreement, over 2005 to 2008.
Reforms to be pursued in the Agreement include making the system more industry-led, improving its responsiveness to industry needs, and increasing user choice so employers and apprentices can choose the training organisation that best suits their needs.
Reforms will also see an increase in the number of places in areas of skill shortage, and for mature workers.
Since 1996-97, the Government has more than doubled investment in VET from $1.1 billion to $2.5 billion in 2005-06.
14 2005-06 Budget Overview