The Queensland Government has announced an investment of more than $1 billion in the 2020-21 State Budget for training and skills initiatives focussed on preparing Queenslanders for the jobs of the future.
Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said training and skills funding was vital to the government’s plan to rebuild and grow the Queensland economy.
The key investments include an additional $200 million over four years for skills initiatives and a further $21 million to extend the free TAFE for year 12 graduates and free apprenticeships for under 21s programs to young Queenslanders under 25.
“More young Queenslanders will be helped to update their skills and secure employment through an extension to the existing free apprenticeship for under 21s and free TAFE for Year 12 graduates initiatives to assist those aged up to 25 years,” Ms Farmer said.
“The extended program will apply to 165 priority qualification areas, including health services, hospitality, engineering, aged and disability support and early childhood education.”
“Young Queenslanders under the age of 25 will get access to free training in these high priority courses that we know will lead to jobs.
“More than 26,000 young people had accessed free training under our free TAFE for Year 12 graduates and free apprenticeships for under 21s programs and we want that number to grow.”
The additional $200 million investment will deliver a range of skills and training initiatives including –
- $32.4 million over two years for the TAFE Priority Skills Fund
- $25 million over two years for Pre-Apprenticeship Support
- $8 million over two years for the Social Enterprise Jobs Fund
- $5 million over two years for the First Nations Training Strategy
- And $5 million in 2020-21 for the Workforce Transition Support Program.
The Minister said the investment also included $16.51 million for the establishment of Manufacturing Skills Queensland and $100 million in TAFE facilities across the state, commencing in 2021-22 to create high quality training spaces tailored to deliver the skills local industry needs.
The projects commencing in 2021-22 include:
- $28.9 million for a Robotics and Advanced manufacturing centre at Eagle Farm TAFE
- $10.6 million for a Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Training facility at Bohle TAFE
- $3.6 million for an Advanced Manufacturing Skills Lab at Bohle TAFE
- $10 million towards fitout at a new TAFE campus at Robina
- $400,000 for a business case for a proposed CQU Rockhampton campus consolidation
- $8.0 million for Stage One of the Central Queensland TAFE Centre of Excellence at CQU
- $7.5 million for the Mackay Ooralea Trade Training Centre Expansion for CQU
- $7 million for a Metal trades, manufacturing and robotics centre at Bundamba TAFE
- $3.6 million for an Advanced Manufacturing Hub at Cairns TAFE
- $4.35 million for an Agriculture and Horticulture Centre and maker space at Bundaberg TAFE
- $3.4 million for an Agricultural Centre of Excellence at Bowen TAFE
- $2.95 million for a Robotics Lab and Cyber Security Training Operation Centre at Southbank TAFE
- $4 million for Cyber Security Training Operation Centres at Mooloolaba TAFE, and Cairns TAFE
- $1.5 million for a community TAFE learning centre pilot at Yarrabilba
- $1.2 million for Nursing and Allied Health upgrades at Hervey Bay TAFE
- $1 million for Stage two of the new Rural Centre of Excellence at Toowoomba TAFE
- And $2 million for an aquaculture Training Centre at Whitsundays TAFE
“Investing in fit-for-purpose training infrastructure is essential to ensure Queenslanders can access the skills they need to secure a job and advance their careers,” Ms Farmer said.
“These projects will also support new and existing apprentices, trainees and workers in local industries.”
The successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative will continue to assist another 10,000 disadvantaged people with an additional $10 million to be invested across the state in 2020-21 on top of the existing investment of $80 million.
“Skilling Queenslanders for Work continues to deliver with more than 54,500 people assisted so far and 73 per cent of participants in employment, training or a combination of both, 12 months after exiting a project,” Ms Farmer said.
“Remarkably, every dollar invested in Skilling Queenslanders for Work returns $8 for our economy.
“In addition, our Back to Work program has been extended 12 months with applications open until 30 June 2021. This extension is expected to provide businesses in regional Queensland and parts of South East Queensland with $70M worth of incentives to hire eligible jobseekers.
“This will build on the more than 23,700 people who now have jobs because of our assistance to more than 11,000 employers since July 2016.
“Importantly, more than 35 per cent of our VET investment is in areas outside of south east Queensland, supporting skills development and employment in regional areas.”
“This State Budget will support Queenslanders into training pathways in a variety of careers including traditional trades as well as growing industries in areas like digital technology and the community services sector which will continue to demand skilled workers.”
“The Queensland Government is supporting the state’s apprentices, trainees and VET students, who will be the skilled and creative workforce needed to drive economic growth and future prosperity.”