Programme 2.8 Building Skills and Capability

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Sub-programme 2.8.1 Industry Competitiveness

The Industry Skills Fund Programme

The Industry Skills Fund programme opened to applications in January 2015. The fund will provide over 250,000 training places and support services over five years. It is designed to develop the skilled workforce needed to maintain and improve Australia’s economic position in response to increasing global competition. Australian businesses will be assisted in accessing training and support services so Australia will have the highly-skilled workforce it needs to adapt to new business growth opportunities, rapid technological change and market-driven structural adjustment.

In its first six months the fund has provided training places or support for over 200 businesses nationally. Over 800 enquiries have been made to the fund, with over 200 businesses receiving skills advice.

The Youth Employment Pathways pilot assists disengaged young people make transitions to education, training or work.

The pilot programme enables community service organisations to deliver support services to a person aged 15 to 18 years who has been disengaged from school for at least three months and is not participating in training or employment. Youth Employment Pathways commenced on 5 March 2015.

The Training for Employment Scholarships pilot programme supports young people seeking employment but who may require on the job training up to a Certificate II level to meet their employers’ requirements. The pilot programme assists micro, small and medium sized businesses who hire an unemployed person aged 18 to 24 years with funding to reimburse the cost of up to 26 weeks of job specific training. Training for Employment Scholarships commenced on 5 March 2015.

National Workforce Development Fund

The National Workforce Development Fund continued to receive new enrolments into training in 2014–15. The programme has assisted businesses to increase workforce capacity in areas of need through formal training. Industry contributed to training costs. As at 31 March 2015, since the beginning of the programme, there were 72,134 enrolments in training and 37,203 completions.

Sub-programme 2.8.2 Skills Development

Australian Apprenticeships

The department has introduced a number of measures to support Australian apprentices to ensure that they are completing their qualifications and that they are placed with businesses that need their skills, including a new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network which will commence on 1 July 2015. The new network introduces innovative, targeted services which will deliver tailored advice and support to Australian Apprentices and employers.

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme

Under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme a range of financial incentives are available to employers to support them to offer employment related opportunities that will encourage people to acquire and expand their working skills and, as a result, set themselves towards worthwhile careers. In addition, there are a range of financial and other support measures available to Australian Apprentices to support them throughout the duration of their apprenticeship.

Through the Australian Apprenticeships Support Services contract, 22 organisations were engaged as Australian Apprenticeships Centres to deliver services to Australian Apprentices and their employers in approximately 350 sites around Australia. These arrangements will change from 1 July 2015.

The Trade Support Loans programme

The Australian Government’s Better Support of Australian Apprentices policy included the introduction of the Trade Support Loans Programme (TSL) which provides Australian Apprentices with up to $20,000 over the course of their apprenticeship as an income contingent loan.

The TSL aims to meet the Government’s commitment to deliver improved productivity and competitiveness to the Australian economy by providing highly skilled individuals in priority trades where there are growing skills shortages.

The Trade Support Loans Annual Report 2014–15 is included at Appendix 5.

The Job Ready Programme

The Job Ready Programme (JRP), for international student graduates who hold a trade qualification issued by a Registered Training Organisation based on studies in Australia, is a four-step employment-based skills assessment program that provides applicants with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and job readiness in an Australian workplace, relevant to their nominated occupation before they apply for migration in Australia.

The JRP aims to ensure that an international trade qualified graduate is well placed as a skilled worker to seek employment in their nominated occupation in Australia.

Sub-programme 2.8.3 Access to Training

The Skills for Education and Employment

The Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) programme is the Government’s primary programme for helping eligible job seekers to improve their language, literacy and numeracy skills with the expectation that such improvements will enable them to participate more effectively in training or work.

SEE is delivered across Australia, from metropolitan and regional areas, right through to remote communities. It can be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, be delivered face-to-face or by distance learning, and provide initial, basic and advanced accredited English language, literacy and numeracy training. SEE can be contextualised and involve work experience and can involve a flexible method of delivery that is more tailored to remote areas.

The Adult Migrant English Programme

In 2014–15, the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP) continued to assist eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants to learn foundation English language skills by providing up to 510 hours of free English language tuition. Additional tuition is also available to eligible clients through AMEP’s Special Preparatory Programme and the Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training programme.

AMEP is delivered across Australia by contracted service providers. In 2014–15, ACIL Allen Consulting was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of AMEP. This work will continue in 2015–16.

During 2014–15, the department also provided assistance for workplace English language and literacy, employment-based training, Indigenous training facilities and training for Indigenous job seekers through the Workplace English Language and Literacy Programme, Alternative Pathways – Incentives for Higher Technical Skills Programme, Australian Government Skills Connect, Industry and Indigenous Skills Centre and Industry Vocational Training and Employment Centre Initiative.

Sub-programme 2.8.4 Support for the National Training System

The Government invests in the operation of the VET system in Australia.

States and territories have responsibility for the delivery of training and, under the Constitution, are responsible for all aspects of VET. However, by agreement, or referral of powers, national approaches are in place. This national approach includes development of industry defined standards for training and assuring quality of providers, information services to facilitate choice for students, research and national statistics, and the operation of the Australian Skills Quality Agency.

These arrangements facilitate nationally consistent outcomes from training so businesses can be assured that VET graduates are ready for work with skills at an industry-defined standard. VET graduates are assured that their qualification is recognised equally across Australia.

Support for the National Training System is directed to five key initiatives:

  • Industry Workforce Training supports industry engagement in the national training system, primarily through Industry Skills Councils.
  • The Myskills website supports market operations in the VET sector by providing individuals and businesses with improved access to information on nationally recognised vocational education and training.
  • The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) collects national VET data necessary for research, analysis, policy development and quality assurance. The appropriation represents the Australian Government’s subscription to NCVER. NCVER receives additional funding for data and research services.
  • The Australian Industry and Skills Committee provides industry-based advice to governments on strategies to lift the quality and relevance of training. It will also play the critical role of overseeing qualifications and training product development, ensuring Australian workers are provided with industry-relevant skills that meet the future needs of employers.
  • The National Training System Commonwealth Own Purpose Expenditure (NTS COPE) provides for development of, and ongoing support for, infrastructure and initiatives which address issues which require a cross-border approach and cross-border cooperation.

Student Identifiers Registrar

The Unique Student Identifiers scheme was officially launched on 1 January 2015. It will link an individual with their secure online record of all nationally recognised training and qualifications gained anywhere in Australia from 1 January 2015 onwards. The Student Identifiers Registrar’s Annual Report can be found at Appendix 6.

Performance Information

Table 13: Programme 2.8 Building Skills and Capability performance information
Key Performance Indicators Estimate Actual
Sub-programme 2.8.1: Industry competitiveness
Industry Skills Fund
Number of participants supported to undertake training and/or support services  7,000 7,035 a
Sub-programme 2.8.2: Skills development
Australian Apprenticeships Centres
Number of organisations contracted to provide services as Australian Apprenticeships Centres  22  22
Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme b
Total number of employers assisted nationally through the programme  81,000  68,036
Total number of Australian apprentices receiving a Personal Benefit through the programme  84,000  70,458
Trade Support Loans c    
Total number of Australian Apprentices assisted through Trade Support Loan payments  59,500  26,097
Sub-programme 2.8.3: Access to training
Adult Migrant English Programme
Number of eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants assisted through the programme  57,000  62,638
Skills for Education and Employment Programme
Number of individuals assisted through the programme  27,000  24,632
Sub-programme 2.8.4: Support for the National Training System
National Partnership on Skills Reform (NP): Building Australia’s Future Workforce – Skills Reform (SPP)
Monitoring of progress of NP reforms through assessment of achievement as outlined in Annual Performance Reports Implementation plans and appropriate payments monitored. Implementation plans and appropriate payments monitored.

a Programme commenced in January 2015. The actual figure is based on data as at 30 June 2015 and comprises training places and support services including skills advice provided for individuals through the Skills Advisory services.

b Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme—This difference between the estimate and actual numbers of employers supported can be attributed to:

  • fewer new commencements in apprenticeships and training arrangements than was initially projected in 2014
  • the removal of incentives for those employers who are likely to complete within 2 years, leaving a higher proportion of trades employers, who have larger gaps (2 to 3 years), between the payments under the programme, and
  • the removal of incentives for some employers and decrease of the number of payments for others (such as employers of part-time apprentices). This removed their eligibility to claim a payment, and hence being counted in the numbers.
  • This difference between the estimate and actual numbers of apprentices supported relates to complications in estimating when payments fall due. The last payment under Tools For Your Trade was paid on successful completion and there is inherent difficulties in estimating when an Australian Apprentice may successfully complete their training.

c Trade Support Loans—This is the first year of operation of the loan scheme. The difference between the estimate and the actual number of apprentices taking out Trade Support Loans may have been influenced by a range of factors, including the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase apprentices’ wages and conditions in many industries, and fewer new commencements than originally projected. As with all demand driven programmes this will be closely monitored as it matures.

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