The federal budget was brought down on Tuesday 14 May. In the Treasurer’s speech, there is a brief mention of TAFE and universities, and in the context of opportunity. Digging deeper into the papers themselves shows where initiatives and funding seem to be focused.

VDC is running a VET Chat on 5 June, costing $25 and lasting 30 minutes. The “2024 Federal Budget and National Skills Agreement” VET Chat will be hosted by noted VET expert Claire Field. She will unpack the complexities of the Federal Budget’s impact on VET and delve into the significant developments within the National Skills Agreement to help you “learn more about the changing government priorities for VET, gain insights into the opportunities and challenges their Registered Training Organisation (RTO) may face, and the implications of the National Skills Agreement on their operations.”

Book your place now!!

$1.1 billion over five years will fund the first stage of the Universities Accord, including courses to help prepare people for university.

One area with a strong VET focus, however,  is construction, with Budget paper 1 noting:

“To strengthen the pipeline of skilled workers in the construction and housing sector, the Government is investing $88.8 million to deliver 20,000 additional Fee-Free TAFE and VET places in courses relevant to construction, including increased access to pre-apprenticeship programs.”

And in addition, “the Government will also provide $1.8 million to deliver streamlined skills assessments for around 1,900 migrants from comparable countries to work in Australia’s housing construction industry.”

More broadly, “the Government will provide $4.4 million in 2024–25 to drive demand for Vocational Education and Training (VET) in support of delivering the workforce required to meet Australia’s future skills needs. This will include delivering strategic communications to increase the appeal of VET for students, parents and teachers, and extending community awareness of Fee-Free TAFE courses in areas of high skills needs….”

There is also a bit more money for ASQA.

Some of the ‘Future made in Australia’ initiatives also focus in reforming tertiary education. Notably, these include:

  • Set a tertiary attainment target of 80 per cent of the working‑age population by 2050.
  • Providing $500 million for skills and training in priority industries and to support women’s participation in these sectors
  • Supporting students on mandatory work placements through Commonwealth funded Prac. Placements, but this may have more benefit for those studying at uni
  • Expanding eligibility to the New Energy Apprenticeships Program to include work in the clean energy sector, including in construction and advanced manufacturing, and includes $30 million “to turbocharge the VET teaching workforce for clean energy courses and $50 million to upgrade and expand clean energy training facilities.”

DEWR’s website and the federal minister’s press release provide some useful insights and add detail on the initiatives summarised above. In addition, the site reports that other Government investments include:

  • “Investing $30.2 million over 5 years from 2023–24, in partnership with central Australian communities and the Northern Territory Government, to co-design and establish a network of Remote Training Hubs.
  • Providing $6.1 million for careers information and policy through the National Careers Institute in 2024-25.
  • Providing an additional $9.5 million in 2024–25 to Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), to continue providing independent advice on current, emerging, and future workforce skills and training needs.”

But we know you want more!

A couple of others have put out some commentary on the budget. The first is by Wendy Perry of Workforce Blueprint. The blog is entitled ‘What does the Australian Federal Budget 2024 mean for Development, Education, Employment across Industry Sectors, and Initiatives?’ The second is a commentary by Jenny Dodd, the CEO of TAFE Directors Australia. You can find that one here.