Skills, VET and Workforce Development Opportunities in Federal Budget 2014 #budget2014

Considerable consolidation of skills programmes sees many long-term initiatives ceased and/or moved into a much larger package for the Growth Fund.

This includes a Industry Skills Fund – $476 million from 1 January 2015 delivering 121 500 training places, …to support the training needs of small to medium enterprises which cannot be readily met by the national training system. Industries targeted will include: health and biomedical products; mining, oil and gas equipment technology and services; and advanced manufacturing, including defence and aerospace.

Summarising what has been deleted, reduced and created this article highlights opportunities for employers, industries and training providers.

Deleted (savings or not proceeding)

  • FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP loan fee – 25 % loan fee applied to FEE-HELP (Higher Education Loan Programme) loans for fee-paying undergraduate courses and 20 per cent loan fee applied to VET FEE-HELP loans for eligible full fee-paying students in higher level vocational education and training courses will be removed.
  • Health Workforce Australia abolished saving $142 million over 5 years
  • Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme – Tools for Your Trade – $914.6 million
  • Sustaining Australian’s Maritime Skills – savings of $5 million over 3 years
  • COAG reform council – $8.3 million savings
  • Aged Care Payroll Tax Supplement from 1 January 2015 – $652.7 million savings
  • Relocation Scholarship Assistance for Students Relocating within and between major cities removed – $290.1 million over 5 years.  Access to the Relocation Scholarship will remain available to students moving from or to regional areas for the purpose of undertaking higher education. Additionally, assistance will be available to students from major cities who have to move to pursue courses that are only offered by regional education providers.

The Government will also achieve savings of $1.0 billion over five years from 2013-14 by ceasing the following ten skills and training programmes from 1 January 2015:

–       National Partnership Agreement on Training Places for Single Parents;

–       Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships Programme;

–       Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Programme;

–       National Workforce Development Fund;

–       Workplace English Language and Literacy Programme;

–       Alternative Pathways Programme;

–       Apprenticeship to Business Owner Programme;

–       Productive Ageing through Community Education;

–       Australian Apprenticeships Access Programme; and

–       Step Into Skills Programme (including additional savings of $0.8 million in 2013-14 by not commencing the programme as scheduled).

Reduced (savings or transferred)

  • Australian Emergency Management Institute to transition into a ‘virtual’ institute – $0.9 million saving
  • Health Flexible Funds – $197.1 million over 3 years from a number of funds
  • Unique Student Identifier – $1.6 million savings over 5 years by revising governance arrangements via the Department of Industry
  • Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy – $1.6 million savings by reducing funding
  • Limit the Six-Week Portability Period for Student Payments from 1 October 2014 – $153.1 million over 5 years.  Currently, students are able to receive income support while travelling overseas for up to six weeks. This measure limits student payments to students travelling overseas to those undertaking eligible study or training that counts toward their Australian qualification, receiving eligible medical treatment, or attending an acute family crisis.








Created (new, expanded or re-established)

  • Australian Defence Force Gap Year Programme re-established $191.8 million
  • Growth Fund – $100.6 million over 6 years with a $155 million fund to support new jobs, investment and economic growth in South Australia and Victoria.
  • Investing in the nursing and allied health workforce – $13.4 million over 3 years for 500 additional nursing and allied health scholarships with a value up to $30 000 targeting workforce shortages.
  • VISA simplification to support the vocational education and training sector – $1.3 million to extend the streamlined visa processing to student enrolled in Advanced Diploma level VET course at eligible RTOs.  This measure will support the growth of Australia’s international VET sector and increase revenue by an estimated $6.7 million over three years from 2015-16.
  • Industry Skills Fund $476 million
  • Young Carer Bursary Programme – $3 million to assist young carers to continue their education and caring responsibilities.
  • Trade Support Loans – $439 million over 5 years providing apprentices with financial assistance of up to $20 000 over a 4 year apprenticeship …available to apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List.

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner at Workforce BluePrint and VET Strategist at WPAA.

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