Release type: Media Release


A dynamic new partnership with industry to train tomorrow’s workforce


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations

The Gillard Government will put industry at the centre of efforts to address the nation’s skills shortages.

A new $558 million National Workforce Development Fund will be created to upskill Australia’s workforce over the next four years.

The Fund will create an estimated 130,000 training places tailored to industry needs over the next four years.

Industry will bid into the Fund to secure matched funding to train its current or prospective workforce, with small businesses receiving more assistance.

The Government will also provide $25 million for a National Workforce and Productivity Agency to administer the new Fund. The new agency will work closely with industry to ensure the Fund delivers training outcomes that meet the needs of industry, workers and the economy.

Minister for Skills and Jobs, Senator Chris Evans, said construction and aged care would be priority sectors in 2011-12. Both of these sectors are at risk of experiencing skills shortages in the near future and are critical to our economy.

“Construction is the third largest sector and is experiencing strong growth as a result of the flow on effects of the mining boom,” Senator Evans said.

“Strong growth is also occurring in aged care, driven by our ageing population.’’Following these sectors, the agency will provide advice to Government on further priority sectors for the National Workforce Development Fund.

There will also be funding available to support occupations in critical shortage, as advised by Industry Skills Councils, in all sectors not already covered by the existing Critical Skills Investment Fund.

Senator Evans said the Fund would respond to the most critical emerging needs facing Australian industry, including at the national, regional and sectoral level.

“The new partnership with industry will ensure that our training investment delivers quality training outcomes that meet the needs of industry,” he said.

“This new Fund recognises that training skilled workers for our economy is a shared responsibility between Government and industry. Together we can boost workforce participation and meet the demand for skilled labour.”

Skills Australia will be transitioned into the new Agency through 2011-12, with the Agency beginning operation from 1 July 2012.

This Fund will comprise new investment of $358 million and the balance of the Critical Skills Investment Fund (CSIF).