New South Wales Budget aims to create new global businesses

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Entrepreneurship is a theme through job creation across New South Wales (NSW) in Budget 2016-17 focusing on growth areas like ICT, renewable energy and start-ups.

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The state has recognised the latent potential of new and existing small-medium enterprises (SMEs) to boost the economy and job opportunities, especially for young people with the Jobs for NSW Fund providing targeted incentives and the Innovate NSW Program.

An interesting announcement included,

$25 million to establish the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE), a joint venture between various NSW universities and TAFE, to provide young people with the entrepreneurial opportunities and high quality support needed for business success.

Placing NSW at the epicentre of entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific region the SSE, modelled on the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship in Sweden, will bring together high performing students from all disciplines to learn, collaborate and experiment as part of their undergraduate degree or TAFE course.

More than one-in-three graduates of the Swedish school have successfully launched startups, including two high-profile ‘unicorns’ (start-ups valued at more than $US 1 billion) such as Klarna, as well as the highly successful SoundCloud, ClocalNet, Jaycut, Readmill, Tasteline and Videoplaza.

Whilst this is a great start, the target number of 1000 people going through the SSE from 2017 won’t be anywhere near enough.

In terms of STEM an allocation of,

“…$14 million to support and leverage a number of new and existing NSW programs that support science and research in ICT, engineering, physical and biological sciences in NSW.”

To address youth employment,

The new $100 million Smart, Skilled and Hired initiative will target the State’s highest areas of youth unemployment and respond to the high demands for skilled workers in the construction and disability sectors, Minister for Skills John Barilaro announced.

“Smart, Skilled and Hired will go above and beyond existing employment programs to give a higher level of practical support, mentoring and incentives for early school leavers, people in transition between school, training and work, and at-risk groups such as young offenders.

“This initiative will also ramp up training in both the construction and disability care sectors, because we need a pipeline of qualified workers to work on the State’s $68 billion infrastructure projects and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”

This will be complemented by the Infrastructure Skills Legacy program which uses ambitious but achievable targets to employ a minimum number of apprentices, trainees, women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on these major infrastructure projects.

Other Budget highlights include:

  • In 2016-17, the Government will fund up to 550,000 enrolments in vocational education and training across the State. This is an increase of 50,000 places from 2015-16, and allows for further job growth in the market.
  • The Government will spend $786 million on the contestable VET sector in 2016-17
  • The TAFE NSW budget for 2016-17 is $1.8 billion – an increase of 5.4 per cent on TAFE NSW revised expenditure forecast for 2015-16. This ensures the TAFE NSW budget is in line with the projected student enrolments, so there is room for TAFE to grow
  • $97 million to invest in modernising facilities and information technology initiatives including 34 major building and information technology projects in TAFE NSW
  • $12 million as part of the NSW Government’s election commitment to provide fee free scholarships for 200,000 15-30 year olds to undertake government subsidised vocational education and training certificate courses
  • $6 million as part of the NSW Government’s election commitment for the Jobs for Tomorrow Scholarship Fund to provide up to 25,000 scholarships worth $5,000 each for students undertaking qualifications in technology-based growth industries.

So overall a budget that is heading in the right direction but will it get there quick enough especially with digital and economic transformation, and new discovery technologies jumping ahead of where businesses are now.

June 2016

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