Funds, Initiatives, Programs and Services Addressing Workforce Supply and Demand plus Business Growth in Australia

With labour and skills shortages dominating Australian media headlines and experiences on the ground, this blog pulls together all the funds, initiatives, programs and services related to addressing workforce supply and demand, including economic and skills development (accredited and non-accredited), employment and entrepreneurship, workforce development and planning.

Considering what is in place will help to identify what big ideas are needed to solve the almost unsolvable and please help by sharing links to what you are aware of at a national, state or territory level.  And it will be impossible to cover absolutely everything workforce related so if you know of other initiatives then please feel free to post, comment and get in touch.

Australian Government

Apprenticeships and Traineeships - As an employer of an Australian Apprentice, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Australian Government to help with hiring, training and retaining an apprentice.

Employment Facilitators and Employment Regions - On 1 July 2021, the Local Jobs Program expanded to all 51 Employment Regions throughout Australia. It brings together expertise, resources and access to funding at the local level to focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways for people in each region. An Employment Facilitator in each region is appointed to oversee the delivery of the Local Jobs Program.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme - helping transform your business, getting you from where you are to where you want to be.

Entrepreneurship Facilitators - helping people start a new business and create their own job.

Exploring Being My Own Boss Workshops - can give you an understanding of self-employment and entrepreneurship. Exploring Being My Own Boss might suit you if you have a business idea, or dream of being your own boss, but don’t know where to start.

Foundation Skills for Your Future Program - helps you improve your reading, writing, maths and digital skills.

Indigenous employment programs - The Australian Government announced in the 2021-22 Budget a commitment to develop a new place-based Indigenous Skills and Employment Program to replace the Vocational Training and Employment Centres (VTEC), Tailored Assistance Employment Grants (TAEG) and Employment Parity Initiative (EPI) from 1 July 2022.

Job Access – Driving disability employment

JobTrainer Fund - As part of its economic response to COVID-19, the Australian Government is providing free or low-fee training courses across the nation through its JobTrainer Fund.

Launch into Work - The Launch into Work program supports the delivery of pre-employment projects that prepare job seekers for specific entry-level roles with an organisation.  The program is primarily focused on creating long-term employment pathways for women. Launch into Work will be expanded and extended to June 2028.

Local Recovery Fund - Stakeholders are encouraged to work in collaboration with local Employment Facilitators and Local Jobs and Skills Taskforces to develop Local Recovery Fund proposals that best address the priorities identified in the Jobs Plan for their region.  Proposed activities should be designed to address employment and training priorities and identify opportunities to better skill participants to meet local employer demand.

National Careers Institute - Partnership Grants program provides funding for organisations such as employers, training providers, schools and community organisations to work collaboratively to improve career outcomes and create education and training pathways for Australians.

National Priorities Fund - The Australian Government announced in the 2021-22 Budget that funding of up to $50 million ($12.5 million per year) will be made available under the National Priority Fund over four years from 2021-2025. The fund will complement the expansion and extension of the successful Local Jobs Program and help support Australia's economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

NEIS - New Business Assistance with NEIS can help you turn your business idea into a viable business.

ParentsNext - supports parents and carers who receive Parenting Payment to plan and prepare for work by the time their youngest child starts school.

Skills, Education and Employment (SEE) - The Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program helps eligible job seekers learn the skills they need to get the job they want by improving their language, reading, writing and maths skills.

Strengthening employment services for Indigenous Australians

The Mid-Career Checkpoint program - supports eligible carers who are looking to return to the workforce or advance their career.

Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship - grants encourage participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics leading to STEM education and careers.

Work for the Dole - places job seekers in activities where they can gain skills and experience, give back to the community and get help to find a job.

Specific cohorts (young and matured aged people)

Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians - awarding young Australians up to $13,000, to study a vocational education and training (VET) qualification and complete a paid internship.

Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program - provides eligible older Australians with advice and guidance on transitioning into new roles within their current industry or finding pathways to a new career, including referral to relevant education and training options.  From 1 January 2022, the number of Skills Checkpoint Program places will double to 10,000 per year and the number of Skills and Training Incentives available will increase to 7,500 per year. Eligibility will also be expanded to include people aged 40 years and over, and for those people who are unemployed, the length of unemployment is increasing from up to 9 months to up to 12 months.

Transition to Work - helps young people aged 15-24 into work (including apprenticeships and training) or education. Transition to Work participants receive intensive, pre-employment support to develop practical skills to get a job, connect with education or training, find local job opportunities and connect with relevant local community services.

Youth Jobs PaTH - As part of Youth Jobs PaTH your business can trial a young person for 4 to 12 weeks in an internship to see if they are the right fit. You will receive $1,000 to help with the costs of the trial and if you decide to hire them, you may be eligible to receive additional financial incentives.

State and Territory Governments

There are numerous state and territory initiatives with links outlined here:

ACT – Skills Canberra; Skilled Capital Program; Grants Program – Adult Community Education, Future Skills for Future Jobs; Business advice, grants and assistance; Innovation, Industry, Investment.

NSW – Grants and funding from before and after school services, disaster relief, events, innovation and MVP, seafood to workplace health and safety; Regional Job Creation Fund; Skills NSW; Skills initiatives (including Summer Skills. Veterans, Built for women);  Free RSA courses to help ease staff shortages; $100 million invested in a Skills-led recovery.

NT – Business grants and funding; Aboriginal workforce grants; Funding to upskill or reskill employees; Equity training program; Local Jobs Fund; Territory Workforce Program; Business Growth Program; Tourism Survival Fund; Small Business JobMaker Booster; Small Business Financial Fitness Fund; Funding to attract critical workers; Regional economic development fund grants; Supply Chain Solver.

QLD – Jobs Queensland; Skills for Queensland; Future Skills Fund; Social Enterprise Grants; Diverse Queensland Workforce program; Funding and incentives; JobTrainer Fund; Back to Work; Micro-credentialing Pilots Program; Higher Level Apprenticeship Pilot; Employment incentives; Business Queensland Grants; Advance Queensland – Open grants (including Mentoring for Growth, One Business, Indigenous Native Food Program; Regional Futures – Collaborative Projects, Female Founders Empower Program).

SA – Skills South Australia; Research and Innovation Fund; SA Venture Capital Fund (SAVCF); Seed-Start Program; Export grants and training; PIRSA grants and assistance; Job Shop - 100s of part-time and casual jobs for international students in Adelaide; and there is a call for the South Australian State Government to Tourism Business Capability Support program to be delivered by industry for industry by TiCSA.

TAS – Skills Tasmania; Funding programs for employers and industry; Current projects and programs; Jobs Tasmania; Tasmanian Employer Bonus Fund; Business Tasmania – Grants and funding opportunities.

Vic – Victorian Skills Gateway; Initiatives and programs; Business Victoria – Grants & programs; New Energy Jobs Fund; Jobs Victoria Fund; Manufacturing and Industry Development Fund; Regional Jobs Fund; Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Victorian Small Businesses.

WA – Jobs & Skills WA; Skilling Solutions for Business and Employers; Jobs and Skills WA Employer Incentive; Support and Incentives for Defence Industry Employers; Job Ready Programs for Ageing and Disability, Bricklaying and Infrastructure; Half Price Courses; Business Grants; The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

Industry and Regional Specific

Aged Care - up to $800 in incentive bonuses for aged care staff; two new bonus payments worth up to $400 each for aged care workers struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AgMove relocation assistance - relocate to find a harvest job and AgMove will help pay your relocation costs.

Child Care – Gap fee waiving, Absences, Support for service closures – more info here, Child care discount for early childhood workforce and changes to Child Care Subsidy.

Community Development Program (CDP) - CDP supports job seekers in remote Australia to build skills, address barriers and contribute to their communities through a range of flexible activities. It is designed around the unique social and labour market conditions in remote Australia and is part of the Australian Government’s agenda for increasing employment and breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.

Defence Industry

Foundation skills for remote communities - The $50 million Foundation Skills for Your Future Program and the $9.9 million Remote Community Pilots initiative are part of the $585 million Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow 2019-20 budget package.

The Pilots will operate until 30 June 2023. They will deliver tailored and flexible foundation LLND skills, assessment and training that meet local community needs.

Harvest Labour Services - Reforms to encourage Australian job seekers to take up seasonal work measure announced in the 2019–20 Budget is a $24.1 million investment over four years aimed at encouraging more Australian job seekers to take-up seasonal work.

Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program - ILC provides funding to organisations to deliver projects in the community that benefit all Australians with disability, their carers and families.

Building Employer Confidence and Inclusion in Disability Grant Opportunity.

Northern Australia Business and Community Growth Program - assist community organisations and other entities (including sole traders and partnerships), to support business growth, improve social and economic infrastructure, increase community amenity and liveability and deliver employment outcomes.

Pacific Australia Labour Mobility – The PALM scheme allows eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from 9 Pacific islands and Timor-Leste when there are not enough local workers available.

Through the PALM scheme, eligible businesses can recruit workers for seasonal jobs for up to 9 months or for longer-term roles for between one and 3 years in unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled positions.

Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program - providing grants to businesses over three years to help develop defence sector skills and human resources practices and training plans.

Tertiary Access Payment - A payment to help students with the cost of moving from regional or remote areas for tertiary study.

The Tertiary Access Payment is a one off payment of up to $5,000. It’s to help eligible students with the cost of moving to study. This is for study after you’ve finished year 12 or equivalent.

It is interesting to see the mix of grants and funding options, the priorities, outcomes and cohorts being targeted – look out for a blog coming soon on Now and Next Workforce Innovation Fund to Address Short and Long-Term Workforce Supply.

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