The Gillard Government today unveiled its formal offer to the states and territories to turbo-charge skills training and help more Australians get the jobs they want. The offer, which will be taken to next month’s COAG meeting, will aim to make sure around an additional 375,000 students complete qualifications over the next five years. Under the offer:All Australians – from post school to the age pension – will have access to a government subsidised training place up to their first Certificate III, through a National Training Entitlement; andInterest-free loans will be expanded in the vocational education and training system, enabling up to 60,000 students per year to defer the upfront cost of tuition. Loans will be available to all students studying publicly-subsidised diplomas and advanced diplomas at approved VET providers. This is the first time working age Australians have been guaranteed access to a government subsidised training place, through the National Training Entitlement. Certificate III is the first level of post-school qualification shown to have a significant positive impact on a person’s employment and earnings. Students will be able to access the Entitlement through training providers approved by the state or territory to deliver publicly subsided training. Depending on where the training is carried out, the subsidised place could be worth up to $7800 for some courses. These reforms will help Australians get the training they need to get a job, change careers or boost their chance of getting a better-paying job. For example: · For the 4.1 million Australians without a Certificate III, they could be earning an additional $400,000 on average over the course of a typical working life if they improved their skills to a Certificate III qualification or higher.· Workers holding a Diploma or Advanced Diploma earn on average around $200 a week more than those with no post-school qualification. The blueprint released today – Skills for All Australians – outlines the skills challenge facing the nation and the Gillard Government’s offer to the states and territories. In an economy changing because of the high dollar, skills build job resilience. They provide workers with the capacity and flexibility to switch careers – seizing new opportunities – and apply skills in different contexts. This skills package is a significant breakthrough for business and employees as we shape the new economy. It sits alongside our reforms in clean energy, broadband and tax redesign as the building blocks to equip our nation for the challenges ahead. We are committed to building a highly skilled workforce and a more productive economy. We believe all eligible Australians should be able to access training, no matter where they are from or what their background is. Too many Australians are sidelined because they do not have the skills they need to join the workforce. Skills Australia estimates that in the five years to 2015, Australia will need an additional 2.1 million people in the workforce with VET qualifications. While jobs for more highly skilled workers are growing at 2.5 times the rate of other jobs, the pool of workers with skills to fill them is not keeping pace. The Government has put $1.75 billion on the table to work with the states and territories to deliver these reforms over the next five years. The offer is in addition to the $7.2 billion the Government will made available to the states and territories over the next five years for the VET system. In total, that is close to $9 billion dollars over the next five years. These reforms promise to deliver far-reaching changes that will make a difference to the lives of millions of Australian working families.
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