• Engineers Australia CEO, Romilly Madew.
    Engineers Australia CEO, Romilly Madew.

Around $600 million in measures in the 2024-25 Budget will bolster skills growth and development in the clean energy, construction, and manufacturing sectors, as well as support apprentices and break down barriers for women in male-dominated industries.

Building and construction apprentices will have access to $5000 to help them complete training, while employers will be eligible for support to subsidise costs.

The Building Women’s Careers program will spend $55.6 million over four years to provide flexible, safe and inclusive jobs for women in industries including construction.

The continuation of financial incentives for employers to take on apprentices in the Federal Budget was welcomed by Housing Industry Association managing director, Jocelyn Martin.

Without an employer, there is no apprentice and the financial incentives that have been in place have proved invaluable in helping the construction industry access more workers,” she said.

“The shortage of skilled trades remains more acute than at any time prior to the pandemic and is a barrier to increasing the supply of new homes.

“The Federal Government’s $11.3 billion ‘Homes for Australia’ Plan and commitment of $90.6 million to support fee-free training for apprentices, pre-apprenticeships and skills assessments for overseas workers, will assist in addressing the shortage of skilled trades people and increasing supply.”

This Budget invests a further $6.2 billion in specific housing initiatives, taking the government’s total new investment since 2022 to $32 billion.

The Government is making available a further $1billion to states and territories to deliver new housing – including for connecting essential services such as water, power, sewerage and roads.

Industry also welcomed the government’s $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia package to help facilitate the private sector investment required for Australia to be an indispensable part of the global economy.

A further $91.0 million over five years was included in the Budget to help skill the new energy workforce.

Engineers Australia CEO, Romilly Madew, said the budget sets an ambitious and forward-thinking plan that focuses on skills, innovation, sovereign capability, and the global energy transition.

Madew said the Future Made in Australia framework is the first true generational plan to tackle the energy transition head-on.

“We're moving from market-led decisions to strategic investments, leveraging our natural advantages to be competitive and sustainable. This isn't just about going green; it's about making it economically viable on a global scale,” she said.

“We are pleased with the budget's focus on tackling workforce shortages, implementing initiatives from the Universities Accord, boosting STEM skills, and supporting women.

“It's clear we urgently need to upskill our workforce to handle the energy transition, enhance our manufacturing, and beefing up our digital capabilities. To stay competitive globally, we must embrace a future where continuous learning and quick adaptation are key to Australian engineering."