Skills, training and jobs

A VCOSS guide to what’s being funded, what’s missing out and where the 2019 budget might take Victoria.

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By creating good jobs and giving people the skills, advice and pathways to get into them, the Victorian Government can give hope to the people experiencing unemployment or who can’t find enough work.

VCOSS welcomes the expansion and continuation of Jobs Victoria and the Jobs Victoria Employment Network(JVEN). JVEN helps disadvantaged jobseekers to overcome employment barriers, prepare for work, and connect with employers

The community services industry is among the fastest growing industries in the state, projected to generate one in four new Victorian jobs over the next five years. The budget provides welcome investment in building the community services industry workforce, through the development of Social Services higher apprenticeships. VCOSS will continue to work with the Victorian Government to design and develop these apprenticeships and implement other workforce recommendations in the 10-year Community Services Industry Plan. While more detail is needed on the priorities ofthe Victorian Jobs and Investment Fund, it should prioritise investment in the community services industry as a high-growth sector, with a focus on employing people from a range of backgrounds and experiences.

 

Positive initiatives

 

Victorian Jobs and Investment Fund                                                                      

A Victorian Jobs and Investment Fund will be established to: support opportunities to create jobs and promote economic development; attract private sector investment to the State; attract innovation and jobs projects that enhance productivity growth and support the transition of the Victorian economy to high-growth sectors; and support the continued operations of Launch Vic (which supports start-ups).
$90m in 2019/20 ($150m/2 years)

 

Victoria’s ‘Big Build’ and ‘Social Services’ higher apprenticeships*                         

The Victorian Government, in partnership with industry and the tertiary education sector, will develop a suite of higher apprenticeships to provide Victorians with new opportunities to ‘earn while they learn’ at higher qualification levels such as vocational advanced diplomas and higher education associate degrees. This initiative includes developing ‘Social Services’ higher apprenticeships to support major growth in the community services industry, as well as apprenticeships that support the rollout of Victoria’s infrastructure program.
$5.6m in 2019/20

 

Jobs Victoria                                                                     

Jobs Victoria will be expanded, including the Jobs Victoria Employment Network, to provide training and job search support for disadvantaged jobseekers to enter sustained employment.
$8.8m in 2019/20 ($8.8m/1 year)

 

Free TAFE for early childhood courses*                                                                  

The Government will make training at TAFE free for early childhood courses from 2020. Eligible students enrolling in Certificate III/Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care will pay no course tuition fees for the duration of their TAFE courses from the 2020 calendar year.
$4.8m in 2019/20 ($28.4m/4 years)

 

Responding to Victorian jobs growth with more training*                                                                             

The Government will continue to support eligible students to enhance their skills and employability by providing subsidised vocational education and training. In addition, the Asylum Seeker Vocational Education and Training Program will provide continued support to eligible asylum seekers and refugees to access training.
$2.2m in 2019/20 ($82.6m/2 years)

 

Supporting Free TAFE for priority courses*                                                                           

Additional funding will be provided to respond to strong demand for the 30 priority non-apprenticeships and 20 apprenticeship pathway courses to ensure the TAFE system can accommodate the growth and eligible Victorians can access these opportunities.
$21.2m in 2019/20 ($41.2m/2 years)

 

Apprenticeship Support Officers*                                                                          

Apprenticeship Support Officers will continue to provide apprentices with advice and assistance to improve apprenticeship retention and completions across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.
$4.7m in 2019/20

 

Responding to Victorian jobs growth with more training*                                                          

The Government will continue to support eligible students to enhance their skills and employability by providing subsidised vocational education and training.  In addition, the Asylum Seeker Vocational Education and Training Program will provide continued support to eligible asylum seekers and refugees to access training.
$2.2m in 2019/20 ($82.6m/2 years)

 

Supporting young people*                                                                        

Funding initiatives to help connect vulnerable young people from African and Pasifika backgrounds to their community, as well as education and employment opportunities.
$6m in 2019/20

 

 

Further strategies

A number of further strategies which were not included in the 2019/20 budget could bring significant benefits for creating and securing jobs for Victorians. VCOSS will be advocating for these initiatives over the coming year, in the lead up to the 2020/21 Victorian Budget.

 

Reform the ‘two-course’ rule limiting learners’ training options

To best address barriers to learners’ progress, the Victorian Government can reform the ‘two course’ rule that often blocks people, including high-needs learners, from selecting the best training option for them. Under this rule, students are restricted to:

  • commencing a maximum of two government-funded courses in a calendar year
  • undertaking a maximum of two government-funded courses at any one time, and
  • commencing a maximum of two government-funded courses at the same level in their lifetime.

Currently this rule reduces participation and impedes seamless transitions into further training. It can also block people from re-training in a new career; for example, to enter the rapidly growing community services sector by re-training as an aged or disability worker. Reforming the two course rule would better support disadvantaged learners’ momentum in building their learning and skills development, and help meet skills shortages in Victoria’s rapidly growing economy.

 

Increase the hourly funding rate for Foundation Skills courses

Many Victorians need more than one pathway to education and work. For example, Victoria has 650,000 adults with low literacy. Many adults experiencing disadvantage have a better chance to get qualified by starting with the basics.

Adult and Community Education (ACE) provides community-based learning, meeting individual needs with flexible, tailored support. ACE helps high-needs learners develop foundational language, literacy and numeracy skills, equipping them with the knowledge and confidence for further training and finding work.

ACE successfully re-engages adults with learning, builds bridges to further, formal tertiary education and paid work, and delivers accredited VET programs in their own right. People transitioning from ACE complete TAFE courses at a higher rate than others. This is remarkable given they often face multiple complex barriers to learning.

But Victoria’s hourly funding rate for Foundation Skills courses is just $7 per contract hour, below the national average of $9.10. This hinders providers from covering the extra costs and workload to intensively support struggling learners.

The Victorian Government can fund ACE providers to reflect the extra costs of delivering training to learners who require extra support.

 

Implement the recommendations of the 10-year Community Services Industry Plan

The expected growth in the community services industry means it will need to attract more people into the industry and build a workforce with diverse skills. In addition to the measures funded in this budget, the Victorian Government can work with the industry to implement other workforce actions in the 10-year Community Services Industry Plan endorsed by the Victorian Government

More VCOSS analysis
Read the VCOSS media release
Watch the VCOSS Treasurer's Breakfast
Real Spending Changes Table