The Federal Budget reveal has been welcomed by the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) as being future-focused, with employment top of the agenda.
Central to the budget is a workforce plan, which will see the government commit $2.7 billion over four years from 2020/21 to expand the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy, to further support businesses and Group Training Organisations to take on new apprentices and trainees.
The measure will uncap the number of eligible places and increase the duration of the 50% wage subsidy to 12 months from the date an apprentice or trainee commences with their employer.
The announcement by Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg of the boost in apprenticeship and training support will go some way to support the country’s economic recovery and make it easier for employers to access and commit to taking on an apprentice.
“The government has set its sights on getting unemployment below 5%. It’s ambitious, but fresh investment in apprenticeships and training is key. People need jobs, industries need skills. This budget goes beyond acknowledging the problem – it’s about putting our money where it’s needed most,” said VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym.
According the latest VACC research, the automotive sector alone is suffering from a skills shortage of more than 31,000 – a snapshot of the chronic issue impacting numerous essential service industries. Another employment-building initiative outlined in the budget centres on skills reform. The government has committed $285 million over five years towards skills reform to ensure state governments, employers and students invest in training that delivers the best outcomes to strengthen Australia’s skills base.
“Yes, we have made it through a year of unprecedented challenges, but Australia’s skills shortage goes way back. We need to maintain a pipeline of workers and can no longer rely on skilled people coming from overseas. We need to look closer to home and create opportunities,” concluded Gwilym.