SkillsOne News – Senator Chris Evans at The 2011 SkillsDMC National Conference

The Gillard Governmenttoday launched a $558 million fund which will provide 130,000 Australians withthe opportunity to learn new skills for jobs in sectors suffering from criticalskill shortages.

“The National WorkforceDevelopment Fund marks a new direction in training Australians which putsindustry at the heart of the process, Minister for Skills and Jobs,” SenatorChris Evans said.

This Fund recognises thattraining skilled workers for our economy is a shared responsibility betweenGovernment and industry. Together we can boost workforce participation and meetthe demand for skilled labour.

From today industry willbe able to make bids to their respective Industry Skills Councils to securematched funding to train its current or prospective workforce, with smallbusinesses receiving more assistance.

The co-contribution modelmeans that large enterprises will contribute 66 per cent of the cost oftraining, medium enterprises 50 per cent and small enterprises 33 per cent.

“Funding support will beavailable for accredited training for new and existing workers to help meetbusinesses skills demands,” Senator Evans said.

The 2011-12 round of theNational Workforce Development Fund will make $73 million available across allindustry sectors with $50 million focusing on the priority industry sectors ofConstruction (civil and general) and Aged Care.

Both of these sectors areat risk of experiencing skills shortages in the near future and are critical toour economy.

“Construction is the thirdlargest sector and is experiencing strong growth as a result of the flow oneffects of the mining boom,” Senator Evans said.

Strong growth is alsooccurring in aged care, driven by our ageing population.

The Gillard Government isalso providing a further $75 million in 2011-12 through the Critical SkillsInvestment Fund (CSIF) which forms a part National Workforce Development Fund.The CSIF will increase the workforce capacity and productivity of criticalindustries, with the first round being targeted at the resources and renewableenergy sectors.

Applications can besubmitted until 30 September 2011.

Further information on thenew Fund can be found atwww.deewr.gov.au/nwdf

VJ Thomas Greader