The government has unveiled a $525 million package aimed at reviving the embattled vocational education and training sector and dramatically boosting the number of apprentices to address Australia’s skills shortages.
The skills package is in response to the government’s review of vocational education, led by former New Zealand minister Steven Joyce, which has found a need for sweeping change to address a fundamental lack of confidence in the sector.
The centrepiece, worth $156.3 million, will fund an expected 80,000 apprenticeships over the next five years, with incentive payments for employers increased to $8000 and apprentices receiving $2000 to go into priority skills areas.
The government will put $48.3 million into establishing a National Skills Commission, recommended by the Joyce review. The commissioner will provide national stewardship of the sector, after Mr Joyce found a need for major improvements.