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Victorians to support skill provision for economic recovery

Emergency funding from the Victorian Government will support the state’s TAFE and training system as the student numbers are expected to drop.

With the fund, Victorians can continue to learn skills they would need to get a job and help Australia through the pandemic crisis.

The $260.8 million package was announced by Premier Daniel Andrews, Deputy Premier James Merlino and Minister Gayle Tierney today.

The fund has a $191.9 million guarantee to lock in funding at expected pre-COVID-19 levels. It also comprises a further 68.9 million in crisis support to ensure Victoria’s public training system can respond and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus has had a huge negative impact on universities and other higher education providers across the world. Apart from the educational institutes, training sector has also been severely impacted.

International students are unable to enter the country, while students already in the country cannot attend face-to-face classes; and many students are unable to pay the fees.

The funding is aimed at helping Australia Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and training providers migrate their offerings to an online platform and remote learning.

It will help these institutes retain staff and ensure teaching skills are kept up-to-date. All of which is critical in the fight against coronavirus.

“This gives students and staff certainty, and it gives industry certainty that they can continue to get the qualified workers they need,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

The government will continue working with TAFE and training providers to ensure Victorians continue to get the skills the economy will need. If necessary, the government is ready to invest more to support the sector.

Minister for Education, James Merlino, said, “Our TAFE system has stood up to help manage this crisis, and it will be critical on the path to recovery.”

Free TAFE already provides a pipeline of nurses and other essential health care workers into the system.

Over 685 people have already completed free short courses in food hygiene and cleaning through the Working for Victoria programme. Additional courses in areas like infection control and first aid are planned to go online in the coming week. Other critical industries will benefit from the fund.

Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, said, “Hundreds of Victorians have already taken part in free online courses like food hygiene and cleaning – getting the skills Victoria needs during this pandemic.”

Construction and other industries who are currently still operating in Victoria can count on a pool of new apprentices and cadets. This will be essential to ensure infrastructure and services will be available when needed – a key component in the country’s economic recovery.

Premier Daniel Andrews said, “We need a skilled, adaptable workforce to get through this crisis and rebuild – that’s why we’re backing TAFE.”

The funding will provide TAFEs, dual-sector TAFEs, Learn Local providers and AMES Australia across Victoria until the middle of the year at the least. These organisations provide learning to about 330,000 vocational and community education students.

The fund adds to the government’s $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package. The large fund has already provided more than $400 million in payroll tax refunds, $65 million in business support grants and opened jobs for over 1,500 people through the Working for Victoria programme.

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