About training and workforce development
Workforce development builds the skills people need to participate in the labour market, and the skills organisations need in their workforce to operate effectively.
It can involve training, as well as strategies for attracting, recruiting and retaining workers and consideration of factors such as language and literacy skills, support for learning, and funding for training.
What types of training are available?
This is training that leads to vocational qualifications and credentials that are recognised across the country. It’s based on nationally agreed industry standards, which are documented in what is referred to as Training Packages.
They take the form of:
- Units of competency – these describe the skills and knowledge needed to perform a particular task effectively in the workplace.
- Training package qualifications – these are groups of units of competency that cover the skills required for a particular occupation (e.g. personal care assistant). Qualifications include compulsory units, as well as units that can be chosen as electives.
- Skill sets – these are smaller credentials made up of one or more units of competency designed to meet a particular industry or workplace need.
There are also accredited courses, which are groups of units of competency developed for areas not covered by national training package qualifications.
The premise of accredited/Nationally Recognised Training is that learners are trained and assessed against the agreed industry standards to the agreed level. Everyone who gains the particular qualification or credential should end up with the same skills and knowledge to at least the specified standard.
Accredited/Nationally Recognised Training can only be delivered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
This includes any other type of structured training that does not lead to a formal (nationally recognised) qualification or credential.
This can include:
- short courses on particular topics
(e.g. training on employee well-being)
- training in specific products
(e.g. training for new Customer Relationship Management software)
- industry-specific training
(e.g. training for employees on the NDIS Code-of-Conduct)
- organisation-specific training
(e.g. induction training for new employees).
Non-accredited training can be delivered by anyone with the relevant expertise, including organisations’ own staff, RTOs, other external training providers and product manufacturers.
- short courses on particular topics
This training or learning takes place ‘on-the-job’ through more casual interactions, including:
- ‘buddying’ of colleagues
- mentoring or coaching by supervisors
- employees accessing online information or participating in forums and networks
- job rotations and special assignments.
*Such as literacy, numeracy and digital literacy
*Including technological changes
What financial support is available?
State and Territory governments and the Australian government all offer differing types of financial support for training and workforce development. Financial support is provided through different channels and eligibility depends on where you are, the type of training undertaken and who’s undertaking it. Some funding is only offered for a limited period (such as during the COVID pandemic).
The following are some of the common types of financial support.
Government subsidies are available for training for high priority jobs or skills. Human services jobs fall increasingly into this category.
Subsidised training is also made available for groups of individuals, such as job seekers and those who don’t have a qualification at Certificate III level or above. Some individuals may be exempt from student services fees as well as eligible for subsidised training.
Subsidies are mostly provided for accredited training, but some non-accredited training (such as training for literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills) may also be subsidised.
Financial support for employing trainees and apprentices
The Australian Government provides incentives to employers who employ trainees and apprentices, to help offset the cost of supervisors’ time. These are provided through the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.
Additional subsidies may also be available to employers of trainees and apprentices at particular points in time (e.g. wage subsidies provided during the COVID pandemic).
The Australian Government provides incentives for employing job seekers who meet certain criteria, such as young people, mature age people or people with disability. These are administered through employment service providers.
Support for individuals
The Australian Government offers financial support to individuals to help with the cost of training, through student loans and scholarships for young people.
Advice on financial support
The following organisations can provide advice on what financial support your organisation and employees may be eligible for:
- State or Territory Education and Training Departments can provide information about training subsidies and other types of financial support. Here’s an example of financial support available in one jurisdiction.
- Registered Training Organisations can often provide information about subsidies that may be available for the training they deliver.
- Skills Checkpoint providers can help you access co-contribution incentives to upskill employees aged 45-70.
- Australian Apprenticeship Support Network can provide information and advice about support for employing trainees and apprentices.
- Employment service providers can provide information about wage subsidies for employing certain groups of job seekers.