Australia’s unemployment rate has risen from 7.1 per cent to 7.4 per cent in June despite an influx of over 211,000 jobs in the market.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures were released just minutes before Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government’s latest tranche of coronavirus stimulus. JobTrainer joins the ranks of JobKeeper, JobSeeker and JobMaker as the latest initiative to get Australians back to work. The scheme will deliver $500 million in commonwealth funding (to be matched by the states) for new training programs to upskill or reskill workers.
Morrison said one of the main challenges of the coronavirus crisis has been ensuring the government not only provides economic support but equips Australians for the future.
“The key part of that will be the training and skills they will need to re-skill and upskill and get those initial skills as they are coming out of school. To ensure they can look for and find work. Both in an economy before and after COVID.”
The initiative will provide training support via free or low-cost courses aimed at industries where skills are in demand.
The PM was quick to point out the program would deliver new opportunities to all ages, no matter the labour market or life cycle a person was in.
“It’s not just young people. It’s worth pointing out that half of VET students are aged over 30. And over 15% are aged over 50.” Morrison said.
“This funding will support the creation of in excess of 340,000 new training places, and the key to this announcement is that we will work with the national skills commission and state and territories to ensure that the training that is being funded is in areas of demand.”
Asked if he believed the program would help get Aussies back to work, the PM was philosophical, saying jobs are created by businesses and an economy, not training programs. Yet the PM believes the Australian job market and economy are in good shape.
“What we’ve seen in today’s job numbers is the ability of the economy to restore those losses. We have seen a restoration of those 210,000 jobs. We returned about a third of the jobs lost by June and around a quarter of the jobs that were lost by women.
“Of those 874,000 jobs that were lost overall, we have seen the biggest return of those jobs in June in those sectors most affected, and you would have seen that in the payroll data that came out earlier in the week.
“But where there is a need to further invest to support young people or people of any age as they are looking to transition as a result of the economic shocks that we’ve experienced in recent months, then as a Government I think we’ve demonstrated time and again that we have been prepared to do what it takes,” the PM said.
The Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said JobTrainer will create close to 350,000 places nationwide to reskill the unemployed and school leavers.
“We want to ensure that Australians, when they put their hands up and say, yes, I want to undertake vocational education and training qualification, they know they are training for a job,” Cash said.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell welcomed the JobTrainer skills package, saying it will deliver the skilled workers and apprentices that are needed by the small business community..
The JobTrainer package will support SMEs employing apprentices and trainees with a 50 per cent wage subsidy, up to $7,000 per quarter.
Carnell says the original package has been expanded for an additional six months to end in March 2021 and is now available to businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed from 1 July 2020.
“This is an excellent initiative that shows the government is responding to the needs of SMEs This program expansion will mean up to 90,000 SMEs will be supported in keeping their apprentices and trainees in work.”