Industry Skills Fund opens 19 January 2015

Individual businesses or consortia will be able to apply for the Industry Skills Fund – Growth Stream providing up to 200 000 training plans and support services over 4 years.

Small and medium sized enterprises are prioritised with help available for skills advice and training grants, “…which plan to upskill and reskill their workforces to better position themselves for growth opportunities.”

The Industry Skills Fund – Growth Stream interconnects with the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Programme.

Priorities

Priority industries include:

  • food and agribusiness;
  • mining equipment, technology and services;
  • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals;
  • oil, gas and energy resources;
  • advanced manufacturing, and
  • enabling technology and service industries that support one or more of the priority areas listed above.

NB. Applicants that fall within the priority sectors will be fast-tracked through a streamlined assessment process.

Skills Advice

It is expected that a Skills Adviser will define skills need and solution through tailored advice.

This advice will be tailored to your business and may include activities such as analysis of training needs, skills audits and workforce development planning.

Recommendations for improvement will be given in the following categories:

  • Business growth training – training activities required for you to increase competitiveness for identified growth opportunities.
  • Business growth training support services – other activities you can complete to increase the impact of business growth training outcomes. (p. 5 Customer Information Guide)

Training Grant

The Training Grant helps you with the cost of training, including:

  • nationally recognised training, including full qualifications and skill sets;
  • training that is accredited through state and territory systems, including Language, Literacy and Numeracy training;
  • training that is identifiable, transferrable by a learner and builds the capability of a learner;
  • high quality, innovative or tailored training that may not yet be part of a training package or accredited course. This can include different combinations of training modules to form new skill sets and training tailored to meet specific business needs; and
  • training required to navigate export barriers and/or access foreign markets.

The Training Grant only covers costs directly attributed to the delivery of the training. (p. 6 Customer Information Guide)

Interestingly the definition of Training in the Glossary of the Customer Information Guide is,

Both accredited and non-accredited training, including skill sets, skills analysis and gap training as well as full qualifications that will assist businesses to diversify and improve their productivity and competitiveness in a global market.

and Training Development is defined as,

The development of innovative Training solutions that are not currently funded by the national training system.

Co-contribution

You’ll be required to pay the following percentage of the total project cost:

  • Micro Business (0 – 4 FTE employees) – 25%
  • Small Business (5 – 19 FTE employees) – 34%
  • Medium Business (20 – 199 FTE employees) – 50%
  • Large Business (200+ FTE employees) – 75%

Co-contributions must be in cash. In-kind contributions will not be accepted.” (p. 6 Customer Information Guide)

Consortia will be expected to have undertaken economic analysis and workforce development before approaching the Fund for assistance. If this has not occurred, the lead member of the consortium will be expected to undertake this work before an application can be progressed. (p. 10 Customer Information Guide)

Merit Criteria

Applicants will need to clearly communicate and demonstrate how their applications meet the following criteria:

a. how they are positioning themselves to take up a growth opportunity. A growth opportunity could occur when the business:

  1. diversifies into new or emerging markets and/or
  2. adopts new or emerging technologies and/or
  3. enters export markets and/or
  4. responds to significant domestic market opportunities and/or
  5. repositions themselves because of market driven structural adjustment;

b. how the productivity gains created from the proposed project will deliver benefits to the Australian economy;

c. how the proposed project will address critical skills gaps or shortages, and allow the business to be more competitive for the identified growth opportunity;

d. the value for money offered by the proposed project;

e. the capability and capacity of the Applicant and the training provider to carry out the proposed project. (p. 10-11 Customer Information Guide)

Applications will be open on 19 January 2015 and must be submitted online.

Review the sample application forms here and you can read the Customer Information Guide and Programme Guidelines here.

Workforce BluePrint provides skills advice, workforce planning and development services which are independent of the Industry Skills Fund advisers.

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, 3 January 2015.

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