National Skills Agreement Aims To Increase Australia’s Workforce


The Australian government pledged to make a substantial investment in the country’s vocational education and training (VET) sector in order to increase the country’s skills and prosperity.

The five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) is set to take effect in January 2024. They will invest A$12.6 billion (US$8 billion) in expanding and altering access to VET by supporting quality training and addressing significant skill shortages. 

When coupled with Commonwealth funds, government investment will exceed A$30 billion (US$19 billion).

The NSA will introduce a new National Stewardship model aimed to coordinate strategic investment in skills throughout the economy, which will be a remarkable first. It will make it easier to offer skills needed for national priority sectors while also allowing states and territories to satisfy local industry-specific skill demands.

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The agreement also placed Technical and Further Education (TAFE) at the core of the VET sector, with baseline budget guarantees and the creation of nationally networked TAFE Centres of Excellence incorporating collaborations among TAFEs, universities, Jobs and Skills Councils, and industry.

The A$12.6 billion investment includes A$2.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) in flexible funding to strengthen the capability of State and Territory skill sectors. Priorities include clean energy and the economy’s net zero transformation; Australia’s sovereign capability, which includes advanced manufacturing skills, national security, food security, and construction, care, and support services; and the advancement of Australia’s digital and technology capability.

A further A$1.3 billion (US$826.3 million) in Commonwealth funds is available to pursue changes such as enhancing VET completions, foundation skills training, and VET data. This funding builds on a previous A$414 million (US$263.1 million) commitment for the delivery of 300,000 fee-free TAFE spaces beginning in 2024.

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