FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the benefits of a new $476 million Industry Skills Fund will be felt across the New England Electorate, with Australian businesses now able to apply for support to boost the skills of their workforce.
“The fund will provide up to 200,000 training places and skills advice for businesses over the next four years, and is a key element of the Abbott Government Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is a new way of providing support to businesses that need to upskill or retrain their employees to enable their business to grow, diversify, adopt new technologies, or take advantage of new market opportunities.
“I encourage businesses in the following industries in the New England Electorate to apply for the Industry Skills Fund - advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, medical technology, mining equipment, and oil, gas and energy resources.
“Employers in New England will be supported to decide what training is needed in their business, and which training provider they want to work with, to boost their business productivity and competitiveness,” he said.
The Fund will primarily target Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to better position themselves for growth opportunities. A business will be considered as ‘positioning for growth’ if the business falls into one or more of the following categories:
Diversifying into new or emerging markets and/or;
Adopting new or emerging technologies and/or;
Entering export markets for the first time and/or
Responding to significant new domestic market opportunities and/or;
Repositioning because of market driven structural adjustment.
“In contrast, Labor wasted billions of dollars on skills programmes that failed to deliver training that led to real jobs. The era of training for training’s sake is over,” Mr Joyce said.
Businesses wanting support to train workers will be required to make a contribution to the cost of training. The co-contribution rate depends on the number of employees, with smaller businesses receiving higher levels of support.
Guidelines and more information are available at www.business.gov.au
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, throughout the year.