Last year, the Australian government announced a $2 billion skills package it dubbed JobTrainer. This follows on from the JobKeeper wage subsidy program; JobSeeker, and JobMaker.
The JobTrainer package has two elements to it. The first part is aimed at keeping people already in
apprenticeships and traineeships employed and continuing their education. The second part is aimed at school leavers and people looking for work.
Keeping Apprentices and Trainees Employed
The $1.5 billion from the Australian Government that will be used to subsidise the wages of currently employed apprentices and trainees is an extension of an existing program called Supporting Apprentices and Trainees.
This subsidy covers half the wage eligible employers pay apprentices and trainees, up to $7,000 a quarter
($28,000 a year). Importantly, employers are not required to demonstrate a reduction in turnover to qualify.
There is a cut-off criteria according to an organisation’s size, with this limit being 200 employees.
The federal government estimates this will support approximately 180,000 apprentices and trainees.
Vocational education and training
The second part of JobTrainer will support over 300,000 free or low-cost course places.
Funding will prioritise courses the National Skills Commission has identified to as likely to see job growth. Examples of this include health care and social assistance, and warehousing
Many of these training places are likely to be shorter courses, known as skills sets, which are parts of full
These skills sets can provide students entry into new industries and pathways to full qualifications which may be available for additional subsidies.
Is there anything that isn’t covered?
JobTrainer doesn’t provide any additional incentives to recruit new apprentices or trainees.
However it is crucial for Australian business to continue recruiting and supporting apprentices and trainees. Almost 12 per cent of all school leavers start an apprenticeship or traineeship as their entry into the workforce. Not making this successful transition correlates with poorer long term employment outcomes including unemployment, health issues and lower paid work.
A lack of new apprenticeships also impacts the number of skilled workers in industry. If an apprenticeship takes 4 years to complete, there will be fewer qualified workers in 4 years, compared to now. If this figure continues to drop then entire industries face chronic skill shortages.
Whilst JobTrainer isn’t a comprehensive, long term solution it does provide welcome assistance to employers and industry during a difficult period.