SA boosts training and skills in new $10M investment

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Image credit: Nataliya Hora/stock.adobe.com

The South Australian Government has committed $10 million to support high-quality training delivery in a significant move to address skills shortages and enhance the training sector.

Over $2.5 million in grants will be distributed among more than a dozen training organisations across the state, the government said in a news release.

Beneficiaries include not-for-profits, industry training organisations, and TAFE SA, focusing on critical sectors such as health, construction, disability, and agriculture.

This allocation forms part of the $9 million investment in equipment and capital grants, as outlined in the 2023-24 Budget, emphasising the government’s dedication to ensuring South Australians have access to top-notch training opportunities leading to rewarding careers.

The grants cover a diverse range of industry sectors, including agriculture and conservation, automotive service and repair, community services, construction and plumbing, creative industries, and health.

The state government is further delivering on its $7 million commitment to supporting 39 not-for-profit and industry-based training providers, recognising their crucial role in fostering community and employer connections.

As a testament to the success of these initiatives, South Australia is currently leading the nation in the number of students enrolled in vocational education and training (VET).

Recent data indicates notable increases in training activity, program enrollments, hours of delivery, and subject enrollments during the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period the previous year.

Government-funded training programs have seen a 9.5 per cent surge in student numbers, reaching 54,665, surpassing the national increase of four per cent and securing the highest percentage increase among the states and territories.

Building on these achievements, an additional $500,000 will be allocated for the development of new and responsive training products to address shortages, as well as for trainer scholarships.

This investment aligns with the recently ratified National Skills Agreement, committing the Malinauskas Labor Government to invest over $1.4 billion in skills over the next five years, complemented by $850 million from the Commonwealth.

The Equipment and Capital initiative adds to the ongoing efforts of the Malinauskas Labor Government in bolstering the skills sector.

Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer affirmed that the Malinauskas Labor Government has taken decisive steps to invest in the state’s future.

According to Boyer, this investment has led to a notable rise in training enrollments, underscoring the government’s commitment to fostering a robust skills sector.

“This funding means new and improved experiences for learners, greater outreach for quality training and demonstrates another clear step towards ensuring we have a well-trained workforce to meet our skills needs today and into the future,” he said.

Prior investments include $28 million for not-for-profit and industry training providers, over $12 million to reintegrate aged care, disability, and early childhood courses into TAFE SA’s metropolitan campuses, $9 million in equipment and capital grants, $5 million for the upgrade of TAFE SA’s Mount Gambier campus, and $2.6 million to establish regional skills centers in Cleve, Berri, Port Augusta, Murray Bridge, and Mount Gambier.

The government’s commitment to addressing skills shortages in various sectors, including cookery, bricklaying, and concreting, remains evident in the allocation of $8.8 million for this purpose.

The $2.3 billion National Skills Agreement stands as the largest increase in funding for skills in South Australia’s history, solidifying the government’s dedication to advancing the state’s workforce and educational landscape.