Release type: Media Release


Morrison Government marks National Skills Week 2021 with highest funding for skills and training in Australian history


The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business

The Morrison Government has marked National Skills Week 2021 by reminding Australians of the incredible opportunities of a skilled career as hundreds of thousands make use of the skills and training pathways guaranteed through record levels of federal funding. 

Given the massive demand for skilled workers it is also a great reminder that it is never too late to take up a new trade or to upskill through Australia’s world-class vocational education and training sector.

National Skills Week will see events and webinars held across the country aiming to help Australians unlock their potential and gain real skills for real careers.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, said that while this National Skills Week would be held virtually, a skilled career promised significant opportunities out in the real world.

‘Whether it is on nation-building projects like the Western Sydney Airport or Inland Rail, in TV programs like ‘The Block’ or ‘MasterChef’, or indeed in the seemingly endless streams on Instagram and TikTok, everywhere you look Australians are making a difference by doing incredible things with world-leading skills developed here in our backyard,’ 

‘This National Skills Week is a chance for all Australians to consider having a crack at vocational education and training and remind everyone about the amazing opportunities a skilled career can generate for you and your family,’ Minister Robert said.

‘These opportunities are guaranteed by the Morrison Government which is backing Australians to take up new skills with the highest spend on skills and training in Australia’s history, $6.4 billion just this financial year,’ 

‘This includes a two-year extension of the $2 billion JobTrainer fund, offering free or low-fee training to Australians, jointly funded with state and territory governments. To date the JobTrainer fund has supported over 230,000 Australians upskill and break into new career opportunities.’ 

‘National Skills Week is a chance for school leavers, job seekers and anyone wanting a new career to consider a new pathway so I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of the webinars and events taking place across the country, many of them accessible online,’

‘I would encourage all Australians to consider taking up an apprenticeship or a traineeship because taking up a skill or a trade sets you on a path for a rewarding career and a well-paid job today and tomorrow,’ Minster Robert said. 

‘This National Skills Week I am proud to be part of a Government that is guaranteeing pathways to a better future for Australians through record funding of skills and training, whether it is our $2 billion JobTrainer fund or our $3.9 billion investment in wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees we are putting money on the table to deliver opportunities to get into high-quality jobs in our community.’ 

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Vocational Education and Training – Career Stories

Breanna Cassidy, Certificate III in Business - Wide Bay, Queensland
Breanna Cassidy kick-started her career with a traineeship by enrolling in a Certificate III in Business.

Before embarking on her VET journey, Breanna was selling art online and fulfilling commissions. When Breanna was introduced to the idea of a traineeship, she saw an opportunity to pursue a career in a field that she loved.

“It was an opportunity to not only develop my professional skills, but also to grow as a person” said Breanna.

A VET pathway meant that Breanna would graduate with a nationally recognised qualification before continuing her education – starting an apprenticeship in Prepress and Graphic Design. For Breanna, being able to earn an income while studying was a massive bonus. “I believe this is a fantastic way to learn as you are experiencing your lessons in real life situations” said Breanna, who completed her traineeship while working at Zip Print Australia. Breanna was the winner of the Trainee of the Year at the 2020 Australian Training Awards. 

Cheyne Pearce, Certificate IV in Horticulture – South Perth, Western Australia
Cheyne is a family man, a surfer, and a proud environmentalist. He was a Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician until his late thirties when he decided to follow his passion of protecting the environment.

“I studied Horticulture and Conservation, Land Management before and during my traineeship” said Cheyne. “I’m interested in sustainable living and food production, but the path wasn’t always so clearly laid out. I thought about changing careers for years, but always talked myself out of it.”

Cheyne began his career change by studying a Certificate II in Horticulture at North Metropolitan TAFE. He loved the course and completed his Certificates III and IV as a trainee at Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, securing an excellent role in the City of Perth's gardens upon graduation.

“I faced many challenges throughout my training journey,” said Cheyne, “including studying for the first time in 20 years, becoming a parent and going through injury. Each challenge I overcame gave me the confidence and experience to tackle the next one. My traineeship provided me with training and experience in a supportive environment, and the confidence to work effectively within my industry.”

Cheyne is the winner of the 2020 West Australian Trainee of the Year and the Runner-Up Trainee of the Year at the 2020 Australian Training Awards.

Braden Hellmuth, Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade – Bundaberg, Queensland
Braden’s VET experience has helped him to become the go-to man for technology and innovation in his workplace. His passion for agriculture was sparked as a teenager when he picked fruit in his school holidays. After high school he was encouraged to attend university. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science he was drawn back to working on the land.

Braden returned to Bundaberg to work on the farm he had started working at as a teenager. Whilst informally learning skills from one of the mechanics at the busines he became eager for more training materials and information. Before his apprenticeship he had limited knowledge of mechanics, hydraulics, and machinery.

Braden studied a Certificate III in Engineering – Heavy Diesel Fitting and is now the Head of Engineering, Automation and Technology at Greensill Farming. The skills and knowledge gained during his apprenticeship provided him with the expertise to keep up with the latest technology in engineering and automation in agriculture.

“VET was attractive as I could undertake the training while I was working and learn on the job instead of only from a textbook,” Braden said.

Braden’s VET qualifications have opened a world of professional opportunities. In addition to technical knowledge his apprenticeship allowed him to develop as an individual and learn interpersonal skills that also contribute to his career success.

“VET has given me the confidence and experience to undertake complex projects which I never would have thought I could achieve. I have had the opportunity to travel internationally and work on projects across the globe including the design and development of complex automated machinery. It feels incredible to work with people at that level and to see your ideas help others to achieve a better outcome,” Braden reflected.

He plans to continue learning to stay on top of the technology and automation processes developing in the agricultural industry. Braden was named the 2020 Queensland Apprentice of the Year and Runner-up Apprentice of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.

Jaylie Maddaford, Certificate III in Process Plant Operations – Darwin, Northern Territory
For Jaylie Maddaford, persistence and VET were the keys to entering her dream industry.

She first attempted to enter the oil and gas industry out of high school, 10 years prior to commencing her VET journey. With her goals firmly set on the industry, Jaylie put plans in motion. In 2009 Jaylie studied a Certificate II in Business Administration and completed multiple short courses to put her on the right path and gain valuable transferable skills in the construction industry.

In 2018, her resilience was rewarded. Jaylie was accepted into a traineeship for a Certificate III in Process Plant Operations with the Group Training Organisation Programmed Skilled Workforce and host company ConocoPhillips in Darwin. In 2019, she graduated from her traineeship early and was offered a full-time Process Operator Position with Santos in Darwin.

“I am fast learning if exposed to hands-on real world learning so I really thrive in the on-the-job training environment,” Jaylie said.

The opportunity to complete a traineeship equipped her with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience to excel in a high-pressure role. She continues to draw on her qualifications and finds the daily challenges of her career rewarding.

"I gained so much real-world experience from my traineeship, it set me up for success and enabled me to transition seamlessly from my traineeship to a tradesperson operating a major hazard facility,” Jaylie reflected.

In 2020, Jaylie won the Northern Territory Trainee of the Year Award and was a finalist at the Australian Training Awards. Her VET pathway allowed her to grow in confidence and fulfill her professional ambitions. Jaylie’s story is a great example of how resilience and VET can help individuals reach their career goals.

She wants others to know “How much careers can be fast-tracked by utilising a VET pathway!”

Samuel Heffernan, Certificate III in Sport and Recreation - Riverina, New South Wales
Samuel successfully completed a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation at TAFE NSW while working for the Catholic Education Diocese of Wagga Wagga, going on to represent NSW at the 2019 Australian Training Awards in the Trainee of the Year category.

"My VET experience was incredibly valuable and has helped shape the person I am today. I am so grateful that I started my career by completing my VET course", said Sam. "I gained nationally recognised training while studying on my terms and developed networks and experienced incredible opportunities that I never could have dreamed of."

Before choosing his VET pathway, Samuel felt immense pressure at school to follow a traditional pathway to University yet was unsure of what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

It was only at the end of year 12 that a career advisor at Samuel's school suggested taking a gap year and undertaking a traineeship. This advice changed Samuel's entire outlook on life. A Certificate III in Sport and Recreation has not only been financially valuable, it has also taught Samuel many transferable skills to help with the future chapters of his life.

When Samuel started studying his qualification, he realised how powerful and well recognised VET really is - being able to confidently organise 32 school sporting carnivals for his Diocese and coaching sporting sides representing the Diocese. " The flexibility VET has in relation to study, work and life is one of its greatest assets. For me, I found it allowed me to make such strong connections and create an enormous network which ultimately leads to greater opportunities".

Through VET, Samuel has learned how to successfully manage a business as a sole trader, how to work in large organisations, the importance of study and has been able to travel and work throughout Australia such as remote Northern Territory.

Completing a traineeship fuelled Samuel’s desire to do further study in the education sector and cemented his decision to pursue this vocation. As a former school captain of his college, captain of his local and school football side and a musical performer, Samuel’s training has further enhanced his leadership and communication skills.

For those considering studying VET, Samuel says "there is no harm in doing some research surrounding potential courses. The value will soon be realised."

Arielle Abrahams, Certificate III in Community Services - South East Tasmania
A School-based Traineeship was the perfect opportunity for Arielle Abrahams to develop herself, gain skills-based qualifications and accelerate her career while helping others in a career that she is passionate about.

Arielle had been volunteering at the Bridgewater Police & Citizens Youth Club for two years before she became aware of the possibility of beginning a traineeship with them. “When the opportunity to commence a traineeship was explained to me, I immediately saw the benefits. It was an educational pathway with immediate career development possibilities that I had previously never been aware of” said Arielle.

Arielle studied a Certificate III in Community Services, an industry that she is passionate about both professionally and personally. “I found the benefits of theoretical training combined with practical development in the workplace to be an extremely effective learning experience” said Arielle, who saw a great benefit in the VET system’s strong and immediate focus on learning in a workplace environment. “The real benefit was the ability for me to pursue a traineeship in a sector and industry that I love.”

Across the 18-month period of her studies, Arielle worked in several leadership positions, including the induction of nine new staff members. Her success throughout her traineeship culminated in being named the winner of the 2020 Tasmanian School-based Trainee of the Year Award and representing Tasmania at the 2020 Australian Training Awards.

“Starting my VET journey with a Certificate III has opened so many doors for me. I have now commenced in a Diploma in Leadership and Management which has helped my career development into a more senior role. This progression is a direct result of my VET traineeship” said Arielle.

For those considering VET in school, Arielle urges you to take the plunge: “It might be hard to imagine combining regular school with starting work, but a traineeship allows you to do it, especially if you are passionate. VET pathways in schools not only develop young people but also benefit organisations, industries, and communities.”