Read the letter from Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator for Western Australia, written 16 July 2020:

$2 BILLION JOBTRAINER SKILLS PACKAGE FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND GROWTH

I am pleased to advise that today the Morrison Government announced a significant investment of $2 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to new skills, and to support tens of thousands of apprentices and trainees in jobs.

The new $1 billion JobTrainer fund will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places to help school leavers and job seekers access short courses 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.

The Morrison Government will work cooperatively with States and Territories to develop a list of qualifications and skill sets that will provide job seekers with the skills that are in demand by employers and are critical to the economic recovery. The National Skills Commission will play a critical role in identifying current and future skills needed in a challenging and changing labour market.

I also welcome that States and Territories are signing up to a new Heads of Agreement to access the JobTrainer funding and agreeing to immediate reforms to improve the vocational education and training sector. This will provide the foundation for long term improvements as outlined by the Prime Minister in his recent speech to the National Press Club.

JobTrainer is focused on getting people into jobs and will ensure more Australians have the chance to reskill or upskill to fill the jobs on the other side of this crisis.

We have also announced an additional $1.5 billion to expand the wage subsidy to help keep apprentices and trainees in work. It builds on the $1.3 billion package announced in March. In addition to small businesses already covered, the wage subsidy will be expanded to medium sized businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed as at 1 July 2020. Around 180,000 apprentices and the 90,000 small and medium businesses that employ them will now be supported, with the program extended by six months to the end of March 2021.

The 50 per cent wage subsidy up to $7,000 per quarter will provide critical support to keep our apprentices in jobs and recognises the commitment and investment they have already made to their training.