The federal government is beefing up its support for training in a bid to equip school leavers and young Australians with the skills the nation will need after the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with a $1 billion plan to offer free or very low cost short courses to school leavers and people looking for work, it will also add $1.5 billion to wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees.
This will expand the scheme announced in March to cover medium-sized businesses with under 200 employees and extending it for six months, until March 2021.
Assistant training minister Steve Irons said this would dramatically improve the viability of apprenticeships in tens of thousands of businesses across Australia.
The initial program, announced as part of the government's first tranche of coronavirus economic support, covered half of an apprentice's wage for nine months until the end of September.
Its expansion gives it the potential to cover more than 91,300 businesses.
The new National Skills Commission will identify which specific skills shortages courses should cover, but they are expected to include areas like health care, transport, manufacturing and retail.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is backing the plan with $500 million in commonwealth money, to be matched by the states, and has branded it JobTrainer.
The money is an incentive for states to sign up to a revamped agreement on vocational education, which is still being worked out.
It's understood most were supportive when the idea was discussed at the national cabinet meeting last Friday.
"COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover," Mr Morrison said.
"The jobs and skills we'll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost."
JOBTRAINER SKILLS PACKAGE
$2.5 billion in total including $500 million from the states and territories
States and territories are also signing up to reforms to the vocational education and training sector
$1 billion of the funding (split between the federal government and states) towards JobTrainer, to train and re-skill school leavers and people looking for work
Short courses will be free or low cost and delivered through TAFE as well as other providers
Courses will focus on areas deemed to be in need of workers: health care and social assistance, transport, postal, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade
The National Skills Commission will identify areas in need so employees have skill sets that are in demand
$1.5 billion of the funding will go towards extending the apprentices and trainees wage subsidy
Eligibility will be increased to include medium-sized businesses with up to 199 employees, who had an apprentice from July 1
It will be extended by six months to cover wages paid up to March 2021
The government says the changes will allow 90,000 business with 180,000 apprentices receive help
The subsidy covers 50 per cent of wages paid to apprentices and trainees, up to $7000 each quarter.
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