Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled the Coalition’s $2 billion “JobTrainer” stimulus package, aimed at apprentices and vocational training.
The government has officially put forward $1.5 billion to support wage subsidies for those working as an apprentice and has put forward a new plan to reform the vocational training and education sector.
It comes at a time where the ABS says that unemployment has risen from 7.1% to 7.4% for the month of June, with hours-worked 6.8% lower than March, the beginning of the pandemic.
The Morrison government is aiming to provide the 340,000 school leavers and unemployed Australians with low-fee or free vocational training.
Morrison says his government will support apprentice workers until March 2021, and has offered wage subsidies of 50% to medium-sized organisations with 200 employees or less.
Around 180,000 workers and 90,000 organisations are set to benefit from the package that was due to end in September.
The federal government has also put forward $500 million to reform the vocational training sector, and is hoping that state and territory governments will match its pledge.
Morrison said in a press conference yesterday that “now is not the time to be standing idle regarding jobs and we are ensuring there will be additional support to ensure those unable to get themselves into a new position.”
“We are providing the opportunity for them like never before to get greater access to skilling and training in the areas they need to get that training to find those jobs that will be prevalent in the post-COVID economy.”
Morrison has said that the Northern Territory, Queensland, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia had “either fully signed up” or were close to finalising the agreement for a $1 billion vocational training stimulus package.
The apprentice stimulus package will be capped at $7,000 a quarter, and can only be used for 50% of a wage.
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Michaelia Cash has said that the National Skills Commission is working tirelessly to examine “areas of demand” for the vocational training support package.
“I don’t think it will be of surprise to anyone to know that certainly the current areas of demand: age, disability and healthcare, mining and resources, construction, ICT, transport and logistics and manufacturing – they are certainly areas that we are seeing growth in at this point of time.”