NSW budget to allocate $57.4 million to help women and mature workers get trade qualifications

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NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet. Source: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.

The New South Wales government will commit $57.4 million in the upcoming state budget to create a new centre to give more women and mature workers access to trades training. 

In an announcement this morning, the government said the Trades Skills Pathways Centre will work with registered training organisations in the state to help experienced tradies obtain certification. 

The centre will also “look into delivering trades training in a flexible way” in order to give women and mature-aged workers better access to trades training while also balancing work and family responsibilities. 

The four-year funding measure will be included in the NSW budget, which is due to be handed down on November 17. 

It follows a commitment of $250 million to attract big businesses from other states and countries to the state, announced last week

Little detail is currently available about how the centre will work, however, Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee told SmartCompany the centre is expected to be running by early 2021.

“The centre will work closely with registered training organisations to look at how training can be delivered in a more flexible way,” Lee says.

In a statement, Lee said the program will “go beyond traditional apprenticeships and traineeships to capture workers who may have missed the opportunity to obtain formal skills”, and highlighted the construction sector as one in which “a wealth of experience and potential … is currently going unnoticed”. 

However, he told SmartCompany the centre will “review all trade skills training, including the construction sector”,  focusing on trades with “skills in demand and good job opportunities”.

“This centre will work closely with industry and businesses to ensure it is focused on trade skills that are in demand,” he added.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in the same statement that the government’s goal is to “ease skills shortages” in the state and women and mature workers “play a vital role in that”. 

“The traditional apprenticeship model is not for everyone. Many workers acquire these same skills on the job, without formal training,” he said. 

“This centre will assist these workers to fill knowledge gaps and earn a nationally recognised qualification.”

The federal government also included new funding for skills in its budget last month, allocating $1.2 billion to a new wage subsidy program under a plan to help businesses hire 100,000 new apprentices and trainees. 

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program came into effect in early-October and will provide businesses of all sizes with 50% wage subsidies when they hire new Australian apprentices or trainees. 

This article was updated at 4.30pm on Wednesday, November 11, to include further comments from Minister Lee.

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