Investment boost for vocational sector

The Victorian and Federal Governments have signed a five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) for national cooperation and strategic investment into Victoria’s vocational education and training (VET) sector.


Taking effect from January 2024, the NSA was developed under principles agreed by National Cabinet and will invest up to $3.15 billion to expand access to Victoria’s TAFEs, support training and address critical skills needs.

With Victoria expected to experience significant workforce growth over the next five years, the NSA will provide investment into training, infrastructure, and initiatives to uplift participation.

The funding commitments include a $105 million extension to the free TAFE funding arrangements for an additional 62,800 Free TAFE places over the next three years.

The Victorian Government’s existing commitment to free TAFE includes the lifting of eligibility requirements across more than 80 courses in priority areas.

Nationally, the $12.6 billion funding package prioritises skills for critical and emerging industries such as:

  • Clean energy and Net Zero transformation of the economy
  • Australia’s sovereign capability, including advanced manufacturing skills, national security, food security and construction
  • Care and support services
  • Ensuring Australia’s digital and technology capability.

Additional major reforms will include the establishment of nationally networked TAFE Centres of Excellence involving partnerships between TAFEs, universities, Jobs and Skills Councils and industry.

A new National Stewardship model will coordinate investment in skills across the country to address national priority areas, while also providing States and Territories with flexibility to meet local industry skills needs.

The announcement comes after the Annual Jobs and Skills Report 2023 found the skills shortage continues to intensify, with 36 per cent of occupations in national shortage in 2023, five per cent higher than the year before.

Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said: “This landmark agreement will kickstart real change, with the NSA heralding a new era for training and education and provides an exciting opportunity for Victorians to equip themselves with the skills to work in high quality employment for their future.”

Victorian Minister for Skills and TAFE Gayle Tierney added: “We have signed on to the new National Skills Agreement because the Victorian Government believes our shared national vision for TAFE and skills will build a stronger future for Victoria. “The Agreement includes crucial measures for Victoria including additional funding for TAFE Centres of Excellence and working together to tackle the skills needs of our fastest growing industries.”

More detail on the NSA can be found via the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

How the Victorian Chamber can help

The Victorian Chamber’s Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) is contracted by the Australian Government to provide free personalised advice and support services from pre-commencement to completion for job seekers, employers, apprentices and trainees.

Our Industry Training Consultants will provide quality support services to help recruit, sign up, train, and retain apprentices and trainees and provide advice on financial supports, incentives and government or industry updates.

If you are an employer hiring an apprentice or trainee, contact our ASA team with any enquiries.

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