Business and the vocational sector were some of the winners in the budget announcement last night.
The announcement included particular skills-shortage apprenticeships that may receive further incentives under the Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment, worth $156.3 million of the overall investment into the vocational education sector.
The AISS payment will offer eligible employers double the current financial incentive of $4,000 (for eligible occupations), increasing this amount to $8,000.
Over the next five years, to encourage the uptake of 80,000 new apprentices into these occupations, a new initiative will provide $1,000 to apprentices after completion of their first year and a further $1,000 on completion of their qualification. These occupations include:
- Carpenters and Joiners
- Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
- Bricklayers and Stonemasons
- Bakers and Pastry cooks
- Vehicle Painters
- Wall and Floor Tilers
Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program replaced
The 20-year old Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP) will also be replaced with a simplified and streamlined incentives program for employers of apprentices and trainees, the Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships (IAA) in July 2020. This will streamline payment structure and eligibility criteria with the number of payment categories reduced from 31 to 14 and make the payment structure easier for employers to understand and claim incentives.
The rest of the promised $525 million dollars into the vocational education sector will be invested in:
- a National Skills Commission, recommended by Steve Joyce’s review into the vocational education sector, with the commissioner providing national stewardship of the sector to improve the quality of training and completions; and
- implementing a national careers institute and careers ambassador to raise the profile and appeal of vocational education.
The Budget also forecast that the 5% percent unemployment rate will remain steady for the next four years and tipped wages to grow from 2.5% to 3.5% in the 2021-22 period.