Investing in skills and training to support a future made in Australia

The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

The Albanese Labor Government continues to deliver an ambitious reform agenda to strengthen the Vocational Education and Training sector, close national skills gaps and train the skilled workforce we need right across the economy, including to achieve our ambitions of Net Zero and a Future Made in


Around $600 million in measures in the 2024-25 Budget will bolster skills growth and development in the clean energy, construction, and manufacturing sectors, as well as support apprentices and break down barriers for women in male-dominated industries.

These investments continue our work to remove cost barriers to education and training and incentivise people to train in areas our economy needs them most.

Skilling the Clean Energy Workforce

The Albanese Government is investing $91.0 million over five years in the Budget to help skill the new energy workforce for the transition to Net Zero, including:

  • A $50 million capital and equipment investment fund for facility upgrades to expand clean energy training capacity across wind, solar, pumped hydro, grid battery storage, electricity networks and hydrogen, as well as key electrical and construction trades;
  • $30 million to turbocharge the clean energy teacher, trainer and assessor workforce;
  • Establishing advocacy and promotional work for clean energy careers;
  • Support for small and medium businesses taking on clean energy, construction and

    manufacturing apprentices through access to Group Training Organisation services, with up to $1,500 in annual reimbursements over the life of an apprenticeship; and

  • A preliminary study on using Australia’s international education sector to tackle critical skills shortages through work integrated learning and apprenticeships where domestic training capacity permits.

We have adjusted the eligibility settings of the New Energy Apprenticeships Program so even more apprentices can be in-training to support the transition to net zero and enter the jobs of the future.

In addition to the $91.0 million invested in the new energy workforce, we are also establishing a National Hydrogen Technology Skills Training Centre. In partnership with the Victorian Government, we will invest $10.0 million in 2025-26 to promote hydrogen workforce development and support the skilled workforce needs of the growing domestic hydrogen industry.

Skilling the Construction Workforce to Support Housing Supply:

The Albanese Government’s ambitious housing targets require an ambitious TAFE and VET sector, that’s why we are investing $90.6 million over three years in the Budget to help skill the housing and construction workforce, including:

  • $62.4 million, working with states and territories, to deliver an additional 15,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places;
  • $26.4 million, working with states and territories, for the Pre-Apprenticeships – Trade Experience Program, to deliver approximately 5,000 places in pre-apprenticeship programs over two years from 1 January 2025; and
  • $1.8 million to streamline skills assessments for around 1,900 potential migrants from countries with comparable qualifications who want to work in Australia’s housing and construction industry, and prioritising processing of around 2,600 Trades Recognition Australia skills assessments in targeted construction occupations.

Engaging migrants is critical to meeting skills needs in Australia’s housing and construction sector.

The Government committed in the Migration Strategy to improve the approach to skills recognition to unlock the contribution of migrants to the labour market.

Supporting women to achieve higher paying careers through VET pathways

The Albanese Government is creating better learning, training and job opportunities for women that will lead to greater economic equality and security by:

  • Investing $55.6 million over four years for the Building Women’s Careers program. This program will support women into flexible, safe and inclusive work and training opportunities and will drive structural and cultural change across the male-dominated industries key to A Future Made in Australia – Workforce and Trade Partnerships for Renewable Superpower Industries. This will increase women’s access to skilled and well-paid careers and help address critical skills shortages across the economy.
  • Continuing to support women apprentices in priority occupations under the Apprenticeships Incentive System and setting specific targets for women within the Australian Skills Guarantee.

Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System

The Albanese Government is helping train the future workforce, investing $265.1 million over four years to provide additional targeted support under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System.

The Morrison Government’s last Budget delivered in 2022 included cuts to apprenticeship incentives which were scheduled to start from 1 July 2024.

The Albanese Government understands how important it is to ensure we have a strong apprenticeship system to support labour market needs, ensuring apprentices receive the support they need to get skilled up and work ready, as well as supporting employers to help offset the training costs associated with engaging an apprentice.

Under the changes:

  • Apprentices training in priority areas will be eligible for an additional $2,000 ($5,000 in total) to assist them to undertake and complete their training.
  • Employers taking on apprentices in priority areas will be eligible for an additional $1,000 ($5,000 in total) to help subsidise costs associated with employing an apprentice.

The payments recognise the partnership that is required between the apprentice and their employer to ensure apprentices have the best chance of completing their training. The Albanese Government will provide this important boost – partially reversing cuts baked in by the Morrison Government – to apprenticeship incentives for a year, while the Strategic Review of the Apprenticeship Incentive System is underway to inform a strong and sustainable apprenticeship system into the future.

The Albanese Government is providing an additional $10.6 million over four years to implement the Australian Skills Guarantee. We will develop a reporting system to ensure delivery of our national targets for apprentices, trainees and paid cadets on Commonwealth-funded major construction and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects. The Australian Skills Guarantee will also set targets for women, and specifically women working in trade roles, that will increase annually.

Responding to the Universities Accord

Building on the National Skills Agreement to establish up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence and in response to the Australian Universities Accord, the Albanese Government will drive greater alignment

and collaboration between VET and higher education by:

  • Investing $27.7 million over four years to improve tertiary collaboration and lay the foundation for broader tertiary education reforms. This includes reforms to improve the student experience and provide better credit recognition between VET and higher education and exploring ways to improve regulatory approaches for dual sector providers (including TAFEs) between the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). ASQA will scope and pilot delegating its course accreditation function to identified TAFEs in VET and TEQSA will facilitate applications from TAFEs to self-accredit certain courses of study in higher education.
  • Investing $58.2 million over four years to relieve the financial pressure on VET students undertaking mandatory work placements as part of nursing including midwifery qualifications to combat placement poverty, reduce drop out, support completions and encourage greater take-up. Work placements are a critical component of the training experience but come at a genuine cost to students and ultimately the Australian workforce, which is experiencing critical shortages in these sectors.

The 2024-25 Budget builds on what we’ve already delivered in Skills and Training, including the first National Skills Agreement between the Commonwealth and all states and territories in a more than a decade, which will unlock up to $30 billion in investment in the VET sector over five years.

Jobs and Skills Australia, which will receive a further $9.5 million, is in full flight, providing government with the most up to date information on labour market skills needs, and all 10 Jobs and Skills Councils are undertaking the important work of bringing together businesses, unions and training providers to supply government with the current and future skills needs specific to their respective sectors.

Working with states and territories we removed financial barriers allowing more than 355,000 Australians to enrol in Fee-Free TAFE courses in areas of demand in 2023.

We’re making an additional 320,000 Fee-Free TAFE places available from 2024 to 2026 providing cost of living support for Australians learning skills in priority areas.

Following our $37.8 million investment in 2023, we are continuing our legislative and administrative reforms to strengthen integrity and quality in VET, protecting students and ensuring that we remove the minority of unscrupulous and non-genuine providers from the sector.

This Budget continues the Albanese Government’s work to build a stronger, more equitable and more dynamic Vocational Education and Training sector, to skill Australians for the future.

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