The Commonwealth Government will invest $2 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities.

Member for Monash, Russell Broadbent welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister saying that the new JobTrainer skills package will also guarantee support for tens of thousands of apprentices in jobs across Australia, including the Monash electorate by subsidising their wages to keep them employed and their training secured.

The new $1 billion JobTrainer Fund will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places across Australia to help school leavers and job seekers access pre-apprenticeships, short courses and full qualifications to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications.

Courses will be free or low cost in areas of identified need, with the Federal Government providing $500 million with matched contributions from State and Territory Governments.

“This package will be essential as the economy rebuilds so that people looking for work can reskill and upskill for in-demand jobs, provide school leavers with a pathway into their careers, and ensure businesses are able to get the skilled workers they need.

“2020 has been a challenging year for our nation, and it is critical that we keep our apprentices in jobs and help those looking for work and to reskill,” Mr Broadbent said.

In addition to small businesses already covered, the wage subsidy will now be available to medium businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed as at 1 July 2020. Around 180,000 apprentices and 90,000 small and medium businesses that employ them will now be supported, with the program extended by six months to March 2021.

The initiative covers 50 per cent of the wages paid to apprentices and trainees, up to $7,000 per quarter.

“Backing training, apprentices, and jobs is an essential part of the plan to restore our economy after the coronavirus pandemic and keep Australians in our local area in work,” Mr Broadbent said.