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The Victorian government has opened Stage 1 of the $83.4 million Campus Redevelopment Project at Chisholm Institute’s Frankston campus.

The State Government contributed $46.9 million to the project and announced a further investment of $67.6 million to complete Stage 2.

New data released today reveals 36,000 students have started Free TAFE courses in the nine months to the end of September – a 90 per cent increase in commencements in these courses compared to the same period in 2018.

Chisholm Institute has played a major part in this growth, with more than 6,000 students starting Free TAFE courses – up 187 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The Federal Government is also working to rejuvenate TAFE and has a goal to create more than 1.25 million jobs over the next five years.

In the May Federal Budget the government announced a $525 million Vocational Education and Training (VET) package.

A flagship initiative within the skills package is the establishment of a $36 million National Skills Commission to help bridge the gaps between the sector, industries, students and the community.

The Commission has a critical leadership role, charged with engaging with the VET sector and working collaboratively with the Commonwealth, states and territories to review and improve the current funding arrangements.

The Skills Package also includes substantial funding to establish 10 Training Hubs across Australia as part of a pilot program to tackle youth unemployment in key regions by building better connections between local businesses, industries and schools.

Training Hubs will be established in these regions to help local young people to engage in vocational education and training, and to develop the skills suited to occupations in local industries.

Assistant Minister for VET and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons, said the government will also create National Careers Institute to bring together information about career pathways, and provide a framework for quality career guidance on a national scale.

“The Institute will help connect more than half a million young Australians who are not fully engaged in work or study with industries that are struggling to find skilled employees,” Irons said.

“A Careers Ambassador will also be appointed to work on behalf of the Institute, to connect with tertiary providers, schools and industry to identify gaps in services, and promote opportunities to improve community and employer awareness of the VET sector.

“Being a qualified electrician myself, I have a passionate interest in the success of the Australian apprenticeship system.”

Among other measures in the Skills package, Irons said the government is investing $156 million in an Additional Identified Skills Shortage payment to eligible apprentices and their employers in 10 occupations experiencing national skills shortages.

This new payment will help create and support up to 80,000 new apprenticeships over five years. Occupations eligible for the payment include refrigeration and air conditioning technicians, carpenters and plumbers.

“This is a terrific initiative to support businesses in the residential construction sector to take on apprentices, with up to $4,000 in financial support in addition existing programs,” he said.

From July 1 next year, Irons said it will be simpler for employers to claim incentives under the new Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships scheme.

“We’ve also doubled the size of the successful Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial to support up to 3,200 Australians living in our regions with the opportunity of an apprenticeship,” he said.

“Our overall aim is to grow the apprenticeships system and build the skilled workforce Australia needs to remain competitive in an international market.

“We are really just at the beginning of a long process of transforming VET and it’s crucial that everyone involved shares their insights and gets involved in offering ways to better meet future workforce needs, particularly in areas of skills shortage.”

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