Industry to apply for workforce development funding

“The National Workforce Development Fund marks a new direction in training Australians, putting industry at the heart of the process,” declared Senator Chris Evans, the Federal Minister for Skills and Jobs.
“This Fund recognises that training skilled workers for our economy is a shared responsibility between Government and industry. Together we can boost workforce participation and meet the demand for skilled labour.”
Effective immediately, members of industry can make bids to their respective Industry Skills Councils, such as SkillsDMC, to secure matched funding to train their current or prospective workforce, with small businesses favoured to receive more assistance. The co-contribution model means that large enterprises will contribute 66 per cent of the cost of training while medium enterprises will invest 50 per cent and small enterprises 33 per cent.
“Funding support will be available for accredited training for new and existing workers to help meet businesses” skills demands,” Senator Evans said.
The 2011-12 round of the National Workforce Development Fund will make $73 million available across all industry sectors with $50 million focusing on priority industry sectors, including construction (civil and general). Construction is considered by the Federal Government to be an area critical to the economy and most at risk of experiencing skills shortages in the near future.
“Construction is the third largest sector and is experiencing strong growth as a result of the flow on effects of the mining boom,” Senator Evans said.
Senator Evans also announced that the Federal Government will provide a further $75 million in 2011-12 through the Critical Skills Investment Fund (CSIF) which forms a part National Workforce Development Fund. The CSIF will increase the workforce capacity and productivity of critical industries, with the first round being targeted at the resources and renewable energy sectors.
The Australian Industry Group (AiG) welcomed the Minister’s announcement of the National Workforce Development Fund but was nevertheless reserved at the news.
“This approach was received very positively by business across the board when it was first announced in the last Budget,” said Heather Ridout, AiG chief executive. “However, this can only be regarded as a down payment on a much greater funding commitment down the track if Australia’s skills gap is to be effectively addressed.”
AiG added that the Budget reforms, which give industry a voice in the training system, were based on an AiG proposal for the establishment of a National Workforce and Productivity Agency.
Applications for the National Workforce Development Fund can be submitted until 30 September 2011.
Further information on the new Fund can be found at

Sources: Statement by Senator Christopher Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Australian Industry Group

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