Release type: Media Release

Date:

New program meeting skills needs

The new Productivity Places Program is going from strength to strength with more training organisations delivering training and more participants enrolling.On 1 April the Australian Government released 20 000 training places for people outside the workforce to undertake Certificate II and III courses in areas of skills shortage. More than 6 300 people have already enrolled to undertake training providing a new stream of skilled workers in much needed skills shortage areas.Over 700 of those currently training will graduate by the end of this month.Training opportunities in the mining and construction industries continue to increase with 67 mining and constructions related qualifications now available.340 RTOs have been contracted to deliver 1,430 qualifications in 1,225 sites and a further 130 contract offers have been made for another 567 qualifications.Around 10,000 places will be filled by the end of the first three months of the Program. This is an outstanding result for a scheme that started in April. Through the Productivity Places Program, the Rudd Government will invest $1.9 billion in 630 000 new training places over five years to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers.This includes up to 238 000 training places for people currently not in the workforce and up to 392 000 training places for existing workers.The number of people signed up to training is well ahead of the former Government's Work Skills Voucher program, which only had 3,371 vouchers issued for the first two months. That was for a program limited to Certificate II qualifications and not targeted to areas of skills shortage.A crucial part of its success is the enhanced role of Industry Skills Councils (ISCs), which will work with Skills Australia to ensure that the training places respond to industry demands. A list of the top thirty qualifications by enrolment is attached.The next phase of the program will start on 1 July 2008 with more training places available at the Certificate II to Advanced Diploma levels.