PM to offer ACT $28m more for job training

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard will today offer the ACT a further $28 million in skills funding under the new National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform.

It will bring the Commonwealth's commitment to the territory to a total of $145.3 million over the next five years.

In a major skills announcement to be made in Canberra today, Ms Gillard will outline the federal government's offer to the states and territories on vocational education and training.

The offer will be taken to the next Council of Australian Governments meeting for agreement to be sought.

The package aims to help Australian businesses and their employees to adapt to changes in the economy and workplace transformations.

As a more highly skilled workforce becomes increasingly necessary, the funding aims to help Australians get the training they need to find a job, change careers, or boost their chances of securing better paid work.


The Prime Minister will also release a report into the skills challenge facing the nation.

''This is a significant investment by the Commonwealth government when it is working to bring the budget back to surplus,'' the report reads.

In making this investment, the federal government says additional effort and system reform is needed if the COAG targets for skills and workforce development are to be achieved.

''The Commonwealth strongly believes that our training system must be aligned with industry and focused on meeting the needs of our changing economy,'' it says.

The report finds that simply funding additional training places is no longer an adequate response in an environment where international and domestic pressures are changing the way Australians do business.

It urges all governments to work together in creating a national training system that addresses the needs of all Australians.

That system will allow more businesses to join in and develop their workforces.

It will let more students get the basic qualifications they need for a decent job in a higher skills economy.

And it will allow disadvantaged individuals and regions to take part fully in the programs offered.

''The potential benefits to the national economy and the economies in each state and territory are clear,'' the report says.

''These include higher workforce productivity, increased workforce participation by disadvantaged groups, an increased supply of skilled workers, reduction in skills shortages and a more economically mobile population.

''Through more effective training that delivers more successful student training completions, governments will also realise increased return on their training investment.

''By ensuring mechanisms like VET FEE-HELP (Vocational Education and Training fee help) and the National Workforce Development Fund are in place to effectively support shared investment by students and employers, governments will be more able to spread their subsidies across larger numbers of students, supporting more Australians to get the skills both they need and the new Australian economy demands.''