Skilling Australians Fund and Subsidised Training List

Background from the South Australian Government

For the $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund (SAF), South Australia’s share of the national target is 20,800, and within that there is scope to support:

  • Apprenticeships and traineeships, which may include training that shares similar characteristics to an apprenticeship or traineeship provided that the training is at Certificate III or IV;
  • Pre-apprenticeships and pre-traineeships; and
  • Higher apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship and traineeship commencements supported through the SAF must be in addition to an activity baseline, based on 2016-17 levels of training activity and calculations show that this is a 30-40% increase on 2016-17 activity.

Activity generated must align to the priorities identified in the National Partnership Agreement.

Responses to questions by Workforce BluePrint

  • Where apprenticeship and traineeship commencements could be increased?

Apprenticeships and traineeships should be supported across the board, for every industry, as this is a true indication of employer demand and the creation of new jobs.

It is worth noting that for many industry sectors, entry level is now considered Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level 3 or above.  For example, one industry sector we are working with has had AQF 2 as the entry point in the past and due to changes in the depth and breadth of skills needed for these roles, it is shifting to Certificate IV and Diploma level.  This example implies AQF levels being out of step with job roles and qualifications not being fit for purpose in this case.

Apprenticeships and traineeships could be increased in business specifically and those that lend themselves to school based or part time apprenticeships as every small medium enterprise (SME) could take on at least one new employee.  This is a very cost effective solution for employers especially where tasks are digitally based and they can have a positive impact on increasing sales such as marketing or decreasing expenses such as streamlining systems, processes and introducing new technologies.

  • What support elements are needed to generate that increase in commencements?

Support elements needed to generate an increase is for government funding for Registered Training Organisations to prioritise apprenticeships and traineeships including school based and part time.  On the opportunity for SMEs to take on new apprentices or trainees this requires employer to employer, peer to peer sharing about the difference that it can make to the business, how to structure the roles, what tasks to allocate, how to manage employees and support them to improve the business.  Extending this idea could be short term programs to prove the worth of the apprentice or trainee to the business.  For example a 12 week ‘growth hack’ with a business focus where new employees can be converted to Australian Apprenticeships.  Events and behind the scenes tours could help as these are on a more on a practical level as employers, sole traders and startups need to see the benefits in action rather than a series of workshops to explain.  Employer approval to take on trainees and apprentices should be reviewed – is it needed?

  • How could industry, employers and training providers access funding to deliver that increase in commencements?

Access for funding, for industry, employers and training providers, to deliver that increase in commencements could come through seed funding and prototyping a number of initiatives.  This could include ‘growth hacking’ SMEs and startups, providing experiences that show how apprentices and trainees can add value to businesses expanding globally, supporting sole traders, female founders and purpose driven brands (social enterprises), and creating new employers/entrepreneurs.  It will be important to pay attention to opportunities in regions as well as metro areas identifying priority industry sectors, critical job roles and capabilities.

Feedback on priorities

The draft National Partnership Agreement identifies the following priority areas for the delivery of the additional apprenticeships, traineeships, pre-apprenticeships, pre-traineeships, and other relevant employment-related training:

  1. Occupations in demand;
  2. Occupations with a reliance on skilled migration pathways;
  3. Industries and sectors of future growth that include, but are not limited to, the following priorities:
  4. Tourism;
  5. Hospitality;
  6. Health, ageing, and community and social services;
  7. Engineering;
  8. Manufacturing;
  9. Building and construction;
  10. Agriculture, and
  11. Digital technologies;
  12. Trade apprenticeships;
  13. Rural, regional and remote areas;
  14. Targeted cohorts;
  15. Industries and communities experiencing structural adjustment;
  16. Other workforce priorities agreed on a bilateral basis, for example, to support implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Family Violence Reforms and other significant areas of workforce growth; and
  17. Other priorities, agreed on a bilateral basis, including industries and sectors for future growth. These priorities have been determined by the Australian Government in drafting the National Partnership Agreement. However, there is scope to negotiate bilaterally agreed priorities with the Australian Government in implementing the SAF.

Additional areas suggested by Workforce BluePrint to be included relate to critical job roles and capabilities for industry sectors and regions such as:

  • Business and Innovation
  • Defence
  • Disability
  • Entrepreneurship and Startups
  • Events and Festivals
  • Food and Beverages
  • Horticulture
  • Mining and Resources

Each region should have a workforce plan, similar to the one developed for Kangaroo Island by the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island, identifying critical job roles and forecasts for the next 3 years, critical capabilities and workforce development solutions.

Targeted cohorts could include:

  • Career Switchers
  • Disengaged Young People
  • Entrepreneurs (new employers)
  • Exporters and companies scaling up from South Australia including partnerships with sister cities
  • Female Founders and Innovators
  • School Based and Part Time Apprentices and Trainees
  • Small and Medium Enterprises and Startups
  • Social Enterprises

Other priorities as areas for growth include:

  • New Discovery Technologies/STEM and emerging areas e.g. AI, AR, automation, big data, blockchain, chat bots, cyber security, digital identities, driverless cars, esports, facial recognition, holograms, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, MR, robots, share economy, social messaging, smart cities, smart farming, smart processing, 3D printing, VR
  • Workforce 4.0 and 21st Century Capabilities

VET Sector Capability Development must underpin this funding framework as Australia must have a world-class VET system with VET leaders, practitioners and providers, working with innovative products and leading edge in terms of their capability.

There are 8 key themes that a VET Sector Capability Development program could be built around to meet current and future workforce needs including:

  1. Australian Apprenticeships and workplace programs for young people &/or those who are disengaged
  2. Industry currency, work placements, simulated vs. real world learning, and VET workforce utilisation in industry
  3. Innovation, disruption, entrepreneurship, 21st Century Capabilities & world-class practices
  4. Digital learning & assessment practices & Workforce 4.0 capabilities
  5. International export, capacity and capability development
  6. New VET practitioner development through to VET Leaders
  7. Teaching, learning and assessment practice
  8. VET products (including Training Packages and non-accredited) and programs matched with employer, industry and workforce demand

Overall WorkReady, the Skilling Australians Fund, and New National Partnerships negotiations should reward innovation in VET.  Importantly this includes a balance between accredited and non-accredited outcomes, prioritising Australian Apprenticeships whilst allowing for reform and reinvention, and encouraging an evidence base for industry and regional workforce priorities, critical job roles, capabilities and gaps.

For further information please contact Wendy Perry, Managing Director, Workforce BluePrint, via or call 0416 150 491, thank you.

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