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How is the federal budget going to help with training and education in Australia?

by Chloe Baird
Posted: October 27, 2020

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What does the federal budget mean for training and higher education? 

This has been a year unlike any other. And the government’s federal budget reflected that, with a focus on jobs and training.  

The government’s 2020 federal budget had good news for some, with $263 million to be spent on the vocational education and training (VET) sector over the next four years on a range of programs aimed at improving the sector's quality.  

There is also the government’s JobMaker Plan, which includes the creation of the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund, with funding matched between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. The aim of the JobTrainer Fund is to encourage people to pursue additional free or low-fee training in what the government calls “areas of genuine need” to help upskill and retrain job seekers and young people. 

Getting Australians back to work 

There is a spark of hope for Aussies doing it tough. In the government’s budget report, they stated that “almost 60 per cent or 760,000 of the 1.3 million people who lost their job [because of the pandemic] or were stood down on zero hours are now back at work.”  

The government has also predicted that by 2021, Australia’s GDP should have recovered enough to get back on track, and they’re predicting a growth of 4.25%.   

The government also announced a new $4 billion JobMaker hiring credit to help the nation’s economic recovery. This incentive is aimed at encouraging businesses to hire on unemployed people between the ages of 16 to 35. Employers who will be eligible for the JobMaker payment need to demonstrate that the new employee will increase overall employee headcount. The employer will then receive $200 per week if they hire an eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years old or $100 per week if they hire an eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years old. With a maximum amount of $7000 a quarter, the subsidy is for workers who start between now and September 2021, which is capped at 100,000 places.  

What’s the state of Australia’s labour force right now? 

The National Skills Commission recently published the ‘A snapshot in time: The Australian labour market and Covid-19’ report.  

In this report, they indicated that the industries least affected by the recent pandemic are financial and insurance services and electricity, gas and water. In fact, these industries have had a very slight employee uptake. In comparison, arts and recreation services and the hospitality and food services are the industries most affected, with up to a 29% drop in employment recorded between March and May of 2020.  

This same report stated that younger people were often the worst affected in times of economic difficulties. The report says, “Young people are particularly vulnerable during periods of economic and labour market softness, as they tend to have fewer skills and less experience than their prime-age counterparts.”  

Taking this into account, the government’s JobTrainer Fund is welcome news for younger people who need to upskill or retrain to get back into the workforce.  

Federal budget

What are ‘blue tech’ skills? 

In light of the federal budget and all the discussion about economic recovery and getting people back into the workforce, you may have heard the term ‘blue tech’ skills popping up.  

Blue tech skills will have a key role to play when it comes to getting Australia’s economy on track. 

In this 2020 report from Cisco, Optus and TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), it states that:  

Industry needs people equipped for a dynamic, digitised world, including with general digital skills that helps businesses to move up the value chain as industries further automate; and as industry accelerates adoption of technology there is a rising tide of ‘blue tech’ or Digital Trades…which are best met through the TAFE education model.” 

But what exactly are blue tech skills? 

Blue tech skills are skills that don’t need a university degree. They can be acquired through VET, and therefore can be obtained in a shorter amount of time compared to uni. Blue tech skills are usually technology-intensive and competency-based.  

An example of a blue tech job could be a Cyber Security Specialist or a Telecommunication Technician. With such high demand right now for general capabilities and competencies, the rise of blue tech skills is no surprise.  

VET providers are ideal candidates for teaching blue tech skills. Some education providers may offer un-accredited short courses that are designed to help teach you basic skills. But to succeed in a blue tech job, the best way to get ahead would be to undertake an accredited, nationally recognised Certificate or Diploma.   

What's next?  

If you’re looking to reskill, upskill or if you’re trying to enter or re-enter the workforce, Open Colleges offers a number of online courses across a range of different areas. While our in-house online courses don’t have any government-funded discounts, we do offer promotions on a regular basis that you can take advantage of. Our accredited courses are recognised nation-wide, which means they can help you find work anywhere in the country.

You can check out our full range of online courses here.

 Enrol today and unlock your potential.  


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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