Release type: Media Release

Date:

New partnership to tackle NT skills shortages

Joint Media Release with Marion Scrymgour, Northern Territory Minister for Education and Training

Federal Minister for Education, Julia Gillard and Northern Territory Minister for Education and Training, Marion Scrymgour, today announced that the Northern Territory will join the Australian Government in delivering the Productivity Places Program for existing workers.

By working in partnership the Australian and Northern Territory Governments will be able to target this national program to meet the needs of Territorians and address skills shortages.

From now until December 2008, the Northern Territory will trial an initiative to deliver 223 new training places in identified skill shortage areas, with more places expected next year as part of the broader rollout of the program. This includes 43 health places for national priority health occupations, announced at the COAG meeting on 3 July 2008.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments will invest more than half a million dollars ($552 866) to provide workers in the Northern Territory with the chance to upgrade their skills and gain higher level qualifications.

The new training places announced today will be targeted to the existing workforce and will be available at the Certificate III, IV and Diploma levels.

Qualifications will be on offer across a range of industries in the Northern Territory, including the key skills shortage areas in Nursing and Indigenous Education.

This marks the beginning of the next phase in the rollout of the Productivity Places Program for the Australian Government.

The Australian Government is dedicated to tackling skills shortages across the nation. This announcement is an important step in delivering more than 700 000 new training places over the next five years for both job seekers and existing workers.The Australian Government recently announced that the $2 billion commitment would include 10,000 places to be allocated as ‘Structural Adjustment Places’ to provide specific retraining opportunities and targeted support to displaced workers.

In the first six months more than 12 035 job seekers across the nation have completed training under the Productivity Places Program and are now beginning to take up jobs in skills shortage areas.

Since 1 April 2008 more than 53 494 job seekers throughout Australia have enrolled in the program, with more than 44 502 having commenced training.

There are currently 691 Registered Training Organisations participating in Phase II of the job seeker element of the program, delivering more than 4 165 qualifications from Certificate II to Diploma level.

The Northern Territory Government is to be congratulated on its commitment to the program, and both governments will work together to tackle skill shortages and improve education and training.

More information on the Productivity Places Program is available at: www.productivityplaces.deewr.gov.au.