Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Questions without Notice
Vocational Education and Training
My question is for the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Minister Cash. With this week being the 11th National Skills Week, can the minister update the Senate on how the Morrison government's skill reform agenda has strengthened our vocational education system?
I thank Senator Small for the question. In answering the question, I acknowledge that Senator Small is an employer in the hospitality industry back in Western Australia. Senator Small is one of those people who has had the opportunity to provide young people with the opportunity to undertake a traineeship in his workplace and to provide them with that stepping stone and the skills that they need to get into the hospitality industry.
As Senator Small stated, this week is the 11th National Skills Week. As we know, National Skills Week is dedicated to raising the profile and the status of vocational education and training within Australia but also looking at dispelling myths and showcasing the, in particular, attractive career opportunities that someone with a vocational education and training skill set is able to get. We need to acknowledge that vocational education and training has well and truly been the foundation of our strong and vibrant economy. When you look at so many who have been through vocational education and training in Australia, it has produced industry leaders. It offers great diversity. It offers new and exciting career paths. It supports our resources and primary industries. It builds our cities. It supports tourism and monuments. It supports our heritage and, as Senator Small knows, it well and truly supports our hospitality industry within Australia. Each National Skills Week we as a country have the opportunity to really get together and highlight all of these opportunities.
I know the Morrison government is proud to recognise National Skills Week 2021. In terms of our commitment to Australians in the vocational education and training sector, we have invested a record $6.4 billion in skills in this financial year alone—$6.4 billion has been invested by the Morrison government. (Time expired)
So many employers across Australia know that the Morrison government is backing them to take a new apprentice or trainee into their business. Of course, last year we announced the boosting apprenticeship commencements wage subsidy, and what that has now done across Australia is that it has seen apprenticeship and traineeship numbers increase by 200,000. We have put in place a policy that has given 200,000 new commencements across Australia. This is 200,000 Australians who are now in an apprenticeship or traineeship as a result of the Morrison government's boosting apprenticeship commencements wage subsidy. That really says something for the fact that employees out there are utilising the policies that the Morrison government puts in place to bring new apprentices and new trainees into their business.
As we know, the coalition government, the Morrison government, has been working with the states and territories, in particular, to provide additional training places in areas of skills demand, and that is the key to the success of the JobTrainer program—$500 million from the Morrison government, matched by $500 million from the states and territories. But the key to the additional training places that we released onto the market was that they are within areas where there are skills demands. So we are training people across Australia, working with the states and territories, through what is now a $2 billion JobTrainer fund to ensure that Australians, when they access JobTrainer, are training up in areas of actual labour market demand. That's because we understand we need to put in place those policies which will skill up Australians and give them the skills they need to get into a job.