Release type: Joint Media Release


$300 million for Skills for Recovery


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

The Rudd Government will invest almost $300 million over the next four years to enable Australia to respond quickly and effectively to skills shortage hot spots in industries such as mining and construction.

Critical Skills Investment Fund

The Rudd Labor Government will partner with industry to provide up to 39,000 new training places in sectors with emerging skill shortages including the infrastructure, construction, renewable energy and resource sectors.

The Government will invest over $200 million over four years to train job seekers and to up skill existing workers.

Funds will be allocated on a competitive basis, based on advice from an independent board. They will also be dependent on contributions from industry.

The new training positions created by the fund will help industry address emerging skill shortages. They will also provide jobseekers and existing workers with opportunities to benefit from and contribute to Australia’s economic recovery.

The fund will focus on helping mature-aged Australians secure new roles, and builds on the Productive Ageing package announced in February.

The fund will also help job seekers and young people capitalise on employment opportunities offered by the infrastructure, construction, renewable energy and resource sectors.

Apprentice Kickstart Extension

The Rudd Labor Government will provide almost $80 million to extend the highly successfulApprentice Kickstartprogram for another six months, supporting around 22,500 new apprenticeship places in traditional trades experiencing skills shortages.

The Government initiative will run from 12 May to 12 November 2010, in partnership with small and medium enterprises (less than 200 employees) who find it particularly difficult to take on apprentices.

Participating businesses will receive $3,350 in bonus payments, in addition to the existing $1,500 commencement incentive, if they engage and retain school leavers in traditional trade apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are a vital pathway to meet the skill needs of Australian industry and to engage young people in employment and training.

The original Kickstart program which ran for three months from December 2009, helped around 24,400 young people into trade apprenticeships.

Smarter Apprenticeships

The Australian Government will invest almost $20 million to support a fundamental shift from a time-served apprenticeship model to a competency-based system.

Under this system, high-achieving apprentices who meet competency requirements will be able to reduce the length of their training. This model would increase the supply of skilled labour without jeopardising training quality.

Over the last 50 years we have seen some of the traditional trades die out as new trades emerge. The Rudd Labor Government will create an apprenticeship system that produces highly skilled workers to meet current shortages and emerging industries and provides the foundation for a career.

An expert panel will also be appointed to advise on the steps needed to sustain and grow an Australian apprenticeship system for the modern economy.

The panel will draw on the expertise of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and leading industry bodies to examine apprenticeship training arrangements and suggest ways to help guide variations to apprenticeship pay.

These major skills investments are part of the Rudd Government’s plan to strengthen our economy and so we can take full advantage of the opportunities ahead for Australia.