Release type: Media Release


Innovative skills partnerships between local business and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities drive economic growth

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews today attended the Banaam ‘Our Connections, Our Futures’ symposium on the Gold Coast, to discuss the economic benefits of skills and training partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and local business and industry.

The symposium brought together community members from across the region with business and industry leaders, to showcase a best practice regional collaboration model where local communities find solutions that suit the needs of their own unique local economies.

The Minister said that Indigenous communities are providing valuable leadership on how to match the workforce needs of local business and industry with training and employment programs.

“I am very impressed with the range of innovative, grassroots, skills-based initiatives that are producing important results in regional areas, and Indigenous communities are leading the way.”

Minister Andrews also launched today a suite of new videos and Indigenous education and training resources at the symposium that showcase a national initiative to better prepare secondary school students for work.

“The Government is committed to restoring the VET sector so it can continue as a centre of educational excellence—training people in real skills for real careers.

“From Nhulunbuy High School in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, to Port Lincoln High School in South Australia, these new videos showcase many wonderful examples of schools working with local employers and training providers to transform lives and provide local businesses with the skilled workforce they need to continue to prosper and grow,” she said.

“Indigenous students are learning skills for work—from manufacturing and trades to health work and teaching, agricultural skills and maritime and fisheries. Schools are making sure their students have a pathway to meaningful work, where they can leave school and contribute to the continued wellbeing and success of their own communities.

“For Indigenous training programs, and school-to-work transition for Indigenous students to be successful, connection with country, community and culture is essential,” Minister Andrews said.

“The Government is committed to maintaining a strong VET sector that delivers the best outcomes for students and supports businesses with a properly skilled workforce,” said
Minister Andrews.

“We want to see VET restored to its former status as a preferred pathway to skills and work—a place of excellence and achievement that produces the skilled workers our economy needs to continue to grow.”

For more information about the schools and programs featured in the new video series, as well as access to other supporting resources, visit

Fast facts:

  • Government has allocated around $3 billion for VET in 2018–19.

  • Includes $1.8 billion in payments to states and territories through the Skilling Australians Fund.

  • Includes $1.2 billion for the Australian Government’s own programs, such as Australia Apprenticeship Incentives Program, and Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers