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Help people facing disadvantage gain work and skills

Image: stoptafecuts.com.au/

Work is fundamental to the Victorian economy and a key contributor to people’s sense of identity and wellbeing. Helping people facing disadvantage to gain work skills and participate in the workforce is of great benefit to them individually, to their families, and to the community as a whole.

VCOSS welcomes the 2016 Victorian Budget’s strong emphasis on developing employment pathways for people facing disadvantage. This is particularly important in an era of technological and structural change in key industries.

Initiatives at a glance

  • $53.2m over four years for Jobs Victoria. Jobs Victoria will coordinate all Victorian employment programs, with a single entry point, with a focus on assisting job-seekers facing disadvantage.
  • $39.9m over four years for the Latrobe Valley Transition Program. The Latrobe Valley faces unique challenges, as shown in the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report. This funding help improve employment prospects for people in the area by diversifying the local economy and providing training for career transition.
  • $10m in 2016–17 for the Back to Work – Automotive workers To encourage re-employment of retrenched automotive workers.
  • $10m in 2016–17 for continuation of the Back to Work – Reconnect This program helps jobseekers facing disadvantage and early school leavers access work and training opportunities.
  • $10.8m over four years for the Community Revitalisation Facilitating new workforce and economic opportunities in areas of entrenched disadvantage.
  • $26m tax expenditure over four years for payroll tax exemptions for wages of re-employed displaced trainees and apprentices.
  • $31.9m over four years for the International Education Sector Strategy. This will give better support to international students and help them to connect more fully with local communities.
  • $14m over four years to develop an industry engagement framework. This will help align training provision with industry needs.
  • $5m over two years for the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre This will provide two new centres to train new workers and retrain manufacturing workers for careers in specialised environmentally sustainable plumbing trades.
  • $24.3m over three years for the Saving Energy Growing Jobs To create new jobs helping households and small and medium businesses reduce energy usage.
  • $12.3m over four years for the Driving Growth in Renewable Energy To help grow the renewable energy industry by incentivising investment and removing regulatory barriers for businesses and households to invest in microgeneration and battery storage.

Future policy directions

  • The Victorian government can help keep young people in education and training and reduce unemployment by increasing investment in Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs). By linking schools with other education providers, community services, and industry, LLENs help lift school reengagement rates and connect marginalised young people to training and jobs. The flow-on benefit to the broader economy of investment in LLENs is significant.
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) provides people with the skills needed to gain and sustain meaningful employment, playing a key role in supporting disadvantaged learners and tackling a range of barriers to workforce participation, including long-term unemployment, early school leaving, low literacy or numeracy skills. VCOSS welcomed the recommendations of the VET Funding Review in late 2015 and looks forward to working with the government to finalise the funding model and the implementation plan in the near future.
  • A state-wide Workforce Development Plan, such as the one described in the 2014 VCOSS Tackling Unemployment paper would provide a holistic strategy for tackling unemployment in Victoria. VCOSS looks forward to working with the state government to develop such a plan.
  • The state government can create jobs for people facing disadvantage by setting public sector employment targets for groups under-represented in the workforce, such as people with disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians.

Banner image:: stoptafecuts.com.au
Thumbnail image:Ausgrid apprentices” by Ausgrid photos (Flickr).