The government says its $2 billion 'JobTrainer' plan will upskill Australian school leavers, apprentices and the unemployed 'for the other side of the crisis'

Australia’s JobTrainer program will attempt to reskill workers for sectors crucial to the country’s development. (Education Images, Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
  • The federal government has unveiled its new $2 billion JobTrainer plan.
  • $1.5 billion will be spent to subsidise another 100,000 places for apprentices working for small and medium businesses.
  • Another $500 million will be spent on offering free or low-fee courses for school leavers and the unemployed, to drive more workers in necessary sectors.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The Morrison government has unveiled the next entry in its growing list of economic support measures.

Following a tried-and-true naming convention, the JobTrainer program will allocate $2 billion to train and upskill a new generation of Australian workers for the brave new world they’re about to encounter.

“The jobs and skills we’ll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“JobTrainer will ensure more Australians have the chance to reskill or upskill to fill the jobs on the other side of this crisis.”

The lion share of the package, $1.5 billion, will be spent subsidising an additional 100,000 apprentice jobs in small and medium businesses.

The new set of subsidises is in addition to the original $1.3 billion worth announced in March, bringing the total number of supported places to around 181,000. With a projected total cost of $2.8 billion, the program will run until March 2021, paying up to 50% of apprentice wages up to $7,000 per quarter.

It comes after sustained criticism over the government’s HomeBuilder scheme, which had no allocation for apprentices.

Another $500 million meanwhile will be spent on reskilling or training of up to 340,000 school leavers, who face the prospect of getting their first jobs in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as unemployed workers.

The funds will either heavily discount or make free training courses in sectors identified as necessary for the future economy.

It’s understood the federal, state governments and National Skills Commission will determine exactly to which TAFE and private sector courses those subsidies will apply together.

As part of the agreement, the states will then chip in a further $500 million to overhaul that same vocational training to make it more relevant to the next generation of workers.

It comes as part of the federal government’s increasing push into education reform. Citing the tough economic climate, the Morrison government has previously announced it would link the cost of university course fees to how relevant those graduates would be to the economy.

So too has it moved to maximise the government’s ‘return on investment’ in vocational training as well.

With more than $150 billion worth of emergency economic support measures announced in March, the federal government is now signalling it’s looking beyond that to what will be required post-September when the mandate on major programs like JobKeeper expires.

As it approaches the Treasurer’s budget update next week, the country can expect more to come.

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