- A new Victoria Skills Authority
$17.7m in 2021-22 ($85.9m/5 yrs)
Bringing together industry, providers and other stakeholders, the new Victoria Skills Authority will produce insights on priority training areas and inform an annual Victorian Skills Plan to better guide training delivery where it’s needed most.
- Getting Victorians back to work: our plan to minimise the risk and costs of greater inequality
$7.6m in 2021-22 ($21.7m/4 yrs)
Funding is provided to support community revitalisation and microenterprise development programs, support Victoria’s social enterprise sector and ongoing resourcing to monitor the Social Procurement Framework. This initiative also supports employment pathways for people with an intellectual disability through Impact 21 and establishing the Local Transition Response Service to support workers facing retrenchment.
- Tackling the digital skills divide to get Victorians into jobs
$3.1m in 2021-22 ($6.2m/2 yrs)
Funding is provided to increase places in pre-accredited digital literacy and employability skills training courses delivered by Learn Local providers to enhance the employment prospects of educationally disadvantaged Victorians.
- Recovery together: jobs and stimulus initiatives for Victoria’s multicultural communities
$4.4m in 2021-22 ($4.5m/2 yrs)
Funding is provided to develop a cross-government bicultural worker strategy aimed at recruiting and supporting bicultural workers to assist CALD communities to navigate government services.
- More training places for the TAFE and training system
$84.5m in 2021-22 ($88.8m/4 yrs)
Funding is provided to continue support for eligible students to enhance their skills and employment opportunities by providing subsidised vocational education and training.
- Increasing the funding of high-quality and accessible training
$14.1m in 2021-22 ($99m/4 yrs)
This will boost funding rates for TAFEs and other registered training providers in 2022, including subsidy rates, maximum concession contribution rates and non-Free TAFE fee waiver rates.
- TAFE reform
$11m in 2021-22 ($15m/2 yrs)
Funding will establish a new Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery to enhance collaboration across the TAFE network and continue coordination of practical placements for TAFE students, including in priority industries such as allied health, individual support and community services, and early childhood and education and training sectors.
Since the pandemic, employment in Victoria has rebounded with more than 200,000 jobs being created. Many of these jobs have been taken up by women and young people – two groups of workers who were among the hardest hit by job losses last year, during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even so, some jobseekers will require targeted support to participate in the state’s economic recovery. VCOSS welcomes funding in this Budget for community organisations to deliver economic security programs to support migrant and refugee women into employment, and investment in community-led initiatives that will provide increased education and employment opportunities for young people from African and Pasifika backgrounds.
VCOSS has long advocated for place-based responses to job creation. We’re pleased to see the Government making investments that will help bring to life initiatives such as the Portland Economic Diversification Plan and the Hilldene Employment Precinct in Seymour, and activate the Food Manufacturing Precinct in Morwell as part of the Latrobe Valley’s transition and transformation.
We know that a sustained focus on building the community services workforce will be needed over the next decade to deliver on the Government’s significant investment across the sector.
Key investments in mental health, early childhood and teaching will also support thousands of new jobs across the community services sector. VCOSS welcomes the trial of Frontline Victoria, which will create a fast-tracked path for degree-qualified people to change careers and move into a role within child and family services.
A fair indexation formula incorporating wage rises, the anticipated superannuation guarantee increase, portable long service leave levy and the different costs of delivering services in rural and remote areas is needed to ensure community service organisations can provide secure jobs, and maintain a high quality workforce.
VCOSS particularly welcomes funding to support the development of a bicultural worker strategy to support CALD communities’ engagement with government services. We know that during the public housing estate lockdowns, government relied heavily on volunteers as bicultural connectors; however, the type and volume of work performed and the expertise it required should have been professionally recognised and valued.
Student placements can play an important role in building the community services workforce Victoria needs. However, supporting student placements through investing in extra staff and supervision training takes time and costs money, and many community service organisations have limited capacity due to finite resources, high demand for services and short-term or inadequate funding. While this Budget provides brokerage funding for TAFEs to connect students with services to complete their placements, it doesn’t remove the burden from community service organisations. These organisations, which are heavily relied on for placements, are over-stretched and facing staff shortages. Government should build on the initiatives provided in the Budget by funding community organisations to host student placements to support a pipeline of workers for the future.
This Budget invests in key recommendations from the Macklin Review (Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy), including the New Skills Authority, due to be launched in July 2021. The New Skills Authority is a welcome announcement and will support an integrated approach to planning for Victoria’s future training needs, including quality of teaching and training.
It is positive to see a funding boost for government-subsidised courses delivered by TAFE and other registered training providers; however, the devil will be in the detail about which courses will see a much-needed increase. For example, courses that disproportionately support disadvantaged learners, such as Foundation Skills and Certificate I and II courses, have subsidy rates so low that they make it hard for providers like Learn Local Organisations to give the intensive support some learners need.
Even with access to Free TAFE, the cost of vocational education and training can still be prohibitive for many students. We need to better support vulnerable learners at TAFE through providing bursaries and scholarships and ensuring that TAFEs can deliver more mentoring, pathways, literacy and numeracy support, assessment adjustments, counselling, and employer partnership development to facilitate workplace training.
Despite improvements in the youth unemployment rate, it still remains stubbornly high in Victoria. The state desperately needs a youth employment strategy that helps support young people into secure work. Designed in partnership with young people, this strategy should focus on increasing participation in education, training and employment, with a view to keeping young people in good jobs.