Published on Nov 9, 2015

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Employers looking to take on apprentices and trainees can take advantage of a $100 million funding boost aimed at skilling young people.

With youth unemployment squarely in the spotlight, NSW Minister for Skills John Barilaro has unveiled a raft of subsidised vocational education and training (VET) options.

47,000 NSW apprentices, trainees and their employers will have access to subsidised qualifications—capped at $2,000 and in many cases less—from Certificate I through to Advanced Diploma across industries.

“NSW needs more people working in skilled jobs across the state who can make a significant contribution to our growing economy,” Mr Barilaro said.

Cessnock City Council Economic Development Manager Jane Holdsworth said it was a great initiative that would provide local businesses the opportunity to ensure their employees have the right skills to support growth and performance.

“A skilled workforce is a productive and resilient workforce,” Ms Holdsworth said.

“Making it more affordable to upskill our young people will start to address the youth unemployment problem and at the same time benefit the local economy by building capacity and getting more people into the workforce.”

Recent job vacancy statistics show an increased demand for workers in NSW with Diploma and Advanced Diploma skill level qualifications.

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme continues its roll out there is an additional need for adequately skilled workers; in 2016 $10 million will add 2,000 new training places to meet demand in the sector.

In a bid to get more school leavers to consider entering the VET stream, free ‘try before you buy’ courses have also been created to target the future needs of the employment marketplace.

Other measures available from 2016 include:

– 200,000 fee-free scholarships with priority for people living in, or on the waiting list for, social housing
– a cap on traineeship fees of $1,000
– $25 million to deliver 25,000 scholarships to students enrolling in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related vocational qualifications
– free vocational education and training for people with a disability, regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent qualification.

Mr Barilaro said the new scholarships and fee structures would help increase apprenticeship completion rates to 65 per cent by 2019.

Find out more about subsidised qualifications at the NSW Smart and Skilled website.  Information about fee-free courses can be found at the Department of Industry State Training Services website.