New government agency for productivity

The Agency will be led by industry representatives and will have a key role in the allocation of a $700 million industry training fund.
Senator Chris Evans, the Federal Minister for Skills, said the new agency marks a significant development in the partnership between industry and government. 
?The Agency is an extension of Skills Australia and will improve long-term workforce planning and development, address skills and labour shortages and contribute to improved industry and workplace productivity,? he said. 
A key role will be to set priorities and manage the $700 million National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF), which has been established to support industry to develop and improve the skills of their employees. 
The NWDF?s budget of $700 million is to be spent over five years to support businesses that want to train new and existing staff in priority industries and occupations. 
Included in this list are occupations vital for quarrying and for related industries such as construction. Engineering and surveying occupations are where shortages have become critical. A comprehensive list is available on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.
?Putting industry at the heart of the system means we are not training people for training?s sake ? we are training people for jobs. This is a fundamental difference from the traditional supply side system where an individual selects the training package they want,? Senator Evans said. 
?This fundamental reform ensures that the Government is training people in the skills that employers and the economy needs.
?With industry co-investment, the NWDF will deliver training to 250,000 Australian workers.
?The Agency will be recognised as an authority on workforce development policy, research, advice and will direct skills funding to industry needs.?
The Government will provide $25 million over three years to establish the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency. This is in addition to the current Skills Australia budget.
Sources: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 
Federal Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

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