$195 million training boost to get more West Aussies into jobs

  • 2024-25 State Budget includes $195 million in new spending to build the State’s skilled workforce and help more Western Australians into jobs
  • $8 million top-up for Fee Free TAFE program to keep training affordable
  • $85 million for initiatives to grow WA’s construction industry workforce to get homes built sooner
  • Support to position WA as a global leader in clean energy and defence sectors

The Cook Labor Government is continuing to grow Western Australia’s skilled workforce, investing $195 million as part of the 2024-25 State Budget to keep training affordable and help more local workers into the jobs of the future.

Giving more Western Australians the opportunity to access training remains a priority, with an $8 million top-up to continue the successful Fee Free TAFE initiative in 2025.

The Cook Government has funded additional Fee Free training places to keep pace with demand, which has led to more than 62,000 enrolments since the start of 2023. The Fee Free TAFE initiative has driven more Western Australians than ever before to skill up and prepare for successful careers in local industries that are in need of workers.

Targeted support for WA’s critical building and construction sector and other key industries continues to flow through a range of initiatives, including $85 million in the 2024-25 Budget to grow WA’s construction industry workforce. This includes funding for initiatives to encourage more apprentices into good jobs in the building and construction industry and help them to complete their qualifications.

Milestone payments of $1,000 will be made available for eligible building and construction apprentices after they complete each training milestone, as part of a new $21.2 million Apprenticeship Support Package.

A $16 million boost to the Government’s Apprentice Tool Allowance will mean eligible apprentices are entitled to a $1,000 rebate to help them purchase tools or safety equipment at both commencement and completion of their training.

These initiatives build on a recent $21.5 million expansion of the Group Training Organisation (GTO) Wage Subsidy Program, which offers generous subsidies for employers to help cover the average estimated award wage of full-time apprentices in the building and construction industry. An additional 150 places have been made available to GTOs immediately.

As the Cook Government positions WA as a global leader in clean energy and defence, increased funding will be made available to ensure Western Australians can make the most of new training and job opportunities in these key areas.

The 2024-25 State Budget includes $1.7 million to boost workforce planning for submarine sustainment under the AUKUS agreement, and to support WA’s transition to a clean energy future.

Recently enhanced services to improve Aboriginal Western Australians’ access to the state-wide network of Jobs and Skills Centres will continue beyond June 2025, thanks to a $4.2 million commitment to involve more First Nations peoples in frontline service delivery.

Acknowledging the importance of securing skilled migrants to supplement key workforces at times of extremely low unemployment, the Skilled Migrant Job Connect Program will receive $5.6 million over three years to keep connecting skilled migrants to WA employers. The program provides subsidies of up to $7,500 to eligible migrants located in WA who are seeking to gain local employment that aligns with their formal overseas qualifications, skills and experience.

A further $4.3 million has been allocated to maintain the Construction Migration Office throughout 2026, to support WA building and construction sector employers looking to hire skilled migrants, and migrants seeking to move to WA to work in the sector.

A $7.2 million extension of the Cook Government’s Australian-first Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations training program in WA’s South West will support people in the region to take up jobs in the transport industry, providing an additional 500 program places a year until the end of 2027.

The 2024-25 State Budget also embeds two successful election commitments – the Year 9 Career Taster Program and TAFE College Lecturers Industry Placement Program – as ongoing and permanent programs beyond 2025.

The Cook Government has also increased its record investment in essential TAFE infrastructure upgrades to $250 million under the Rebuilding our TAFEs program.

For more information, visit ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au.

As stated by Premier RogerCook:

“We are committed to making training affordable and accessible for Western Australians so they can benefit from our strong economy.

“My Government’s 2024-25 State Budget includes major investments to create world-class training opportunities for local workers and support the State’s ongoing economic success.

“To build a range of priority workforces, we continue to make targeted investments in training initiatives like Fee Free TAFE and apprentice incentives to help them complete their training.

“We have been working with industry and training providers on the best ways to further grow our residential construction workforce, and are increasing training support to ensure we have the skilled workers needed for emerging areas such as defence and the clean energy transition.”

As stated by Treasurer Rita Saffioti:

“Investing in our training system is fundamental to giving everyone the opportunity to set themselves up for their future.

“Having access to free training and job pathways is lifechanging, and we’re proud to continue investing in our highly successful Fee Free TAFE initiative, which has allowed more Western Australians than ever before to train and take advantage of the vast job opportunities available across our economy.

“This Budget reasserts our commitment to training, with additional targeted investment in courses and skills that are in high demand – like our building and construction industry – where we are attracting and training more Western Australians through initiatives like tool allowances and supporting on the job apprenticeships in our construction sector.

“With such huge demand and so many opportunities, there’s never been a better time to train, upskill or take up an opportunity to work in in Western Australia.”

As stated by Training and Workforce Development Minister SimoneMcGurk:

“Training changes lives and we want all Western Australians to have that opportunity through affordable, accessible training and initiatives that support them while they earn and learn.

“Since 2023, the Fee Free intiative has been successful in helping Western Australians overcome barriers to training and with this additional investment will continue to boost the workforce across a range of priority sectors.

“I’m pleased the Cook Labor Government can continue this successful initiative in 2025, because the more people we can get into training in vital industries the better we can deliver a skilled workforce.

“We are also continuing to offer a range of other practical measures such as cash grants and other incentives to help apprentices and trainees in the construction sector start and finish their training.

“These important initiatives will help to address the State’s current skills needs while building a workforce of the future.”

/Public Release. View in full here.