With critical labour and skills shortages constraining a transforming economy, it is vital that the new Government takes short-term action to alleviate skill pressures, including reviewing skilled migration policies as well as introducing new education and training measures. It must also address longer term structural changes needed to improve the pipeline of workers coming through the education and training system.

Ai Group will work with the Government to influence the development of details within these headline education and training policies. In the meantime we outline below how your company may be able to make use of these promises. We also encourage you to provide your views on detailed action needed within these areas by emailing cet@aigroup.com.au


Action to take for your workforce


Fee Free TAFE

465,000 Fee Free TAFE places, including 45,000 new TAFE places: focussing on areas currently seeing a critical skills gap; will help rebuild industries hit hardest by the pandemic, e.g. hospitality and tourism, and meet current and future needs in the care economy, e.g. child care, aged care, disability care, nursing and community services 

More opportunities will also be provided for apprentices and trainees, and fill skills shortage gaps in trades and construction, resources, digital and cyber security, new energy and advanced manufacturing.


The Centre is advocating the need for VET to be sufficiently funded over the long term, and that training places are targeted to meet rapidly changing needs of industry, especially as jobs with high level digital skills are increasingly needed.  We are working to ensure a more diverse range of apprentices, including female and indigenous young people and people with a disability are attracted and retained. We are calling for higher-level apprenticeships beyond Cert III and IV to be implemented and supported.



Utilise the free places to meet the upskilling needs of your workforce


Discuss with your local TAFE how best to take advantage of the new training places. The Centre can assist with connections.


Take on apprentices in the priority areas to assist with skill gaps


Engage higher level apprentices to meet new advanced skills required




The Government will work closely with state and territory governments, industry groups and unions on opportunities which allow workers to transfer and build on their accredited micro-credential training.


Ai Group has advocated for:

-        uncovering and removing education and training providers’ barriers to the provision of micro-credentials adaptable by industry and individuals

-         implementation of Australian Qualifications Framework 2019 review recommendations enabling a future-focussed, coherent framework for credentials.




Work with your local TAFE or university to deliver your immediate short course upskilling needs (or ask the Centre to assist with connections)


Investing in jobs of the future


10,000 new Energy Apprenticeships. Examples of eligible industries include: rooftop solar installation and maintenance, large-scale renewable projects, energy efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses, green hydrogen, renewable manufacturing, and relevant agricultural activities.

Limited to 2,500 commencements a year starting from 2022-23






This will encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships in these industries.

Consider how your operations relate to the eligible industries and take on apprentices in areas relevant to your business


Australian Skills Guarantee:  
1 in 10 jobs on major federally funded infrastructure projects reserved for apprentices, trainees and cadets  -


The Centre notes that infrastructure projects represent male dominated environments so efforts should be made to include women and other underrepresented groups.




If your company is included in this requirement, consider options beyond the traditional trades. A trainee in your IT department can be included in numbers.

The Centre can assist you to identify options.



Australian Employment Summit

The convening of an Australian Employment Summit promoted as one of the first actions of the Government


The Centre sees the Summit as an opportunity to examine the skills pipeline into work, and upskilling of the existing workforce as a key driver of productivity.




Ai Group will participate in the Summit. Let us know the pressing skills priorities for your business for inclusion in Summit discussions and actions


New places at universities

20,000 new university places to address shortages in engineering, nursing, tech, and teaching.


Places reserved for under-represented groups such as people in regional, remote and outer-suburban areas, those who are the first in their family to study at university, and First Nations Australians.


Australian Universities Accord


This will be established to drive reform at universities. The Accord will intend to help deliver accessibility, affordability, quality, certainty, sustainability and prosperity to the higher education sector and the country.


The Centre has advocated for additional reforms to higher education, including: incentives for employers to engage students in placements and projects; broader adoption of work-based learning models in higher education qualifications, such as cadetships, which will boost work readiness for industry; review of the current funding model; a tertiary education setting that encourages greater cooperation between VET and higher education to enable the development of a richer range of course offerings and industry partnerships; support for universities to remove barriers to the provision of micro-credentials; exploration of VET, university and industry partnerships, such as regional and metropolitan hubs; programs that connect more PhD students with industry to support research commercialisation for industry




Take on undergraduate students through placements and projects to assist with skills gaps


Let the Centre know of graduate skill gaps in your business and your resource burdens in taking on students in order for us to advocate for employer incentives

Jobs and Skills Australia

Legislate to establish Jobs and Skills Australia to work collaboratively with employers and unions to perform functions including:

·        workforce and skills analysis: workforce forecasting and assessing skills requirements for those services where government is the major funder, and where demand is forecast to expand – including the human services of NDIS, aged care and health.

·        preparing capacity studies, including for emerging and growing industries; work with business and unions to gather insights from industry.

·        undertaking specific plans for targeted groups such as the regions, over-55 workers, and youth; and

·        reviewing the adequacy of the training and vocational system, and ensure that the Commonwealth works with the States and Territories to ensure that our VET system delivers the trainees and apprentices the country needs


The Centre has advocated for this new body to:

·        address long-term declines in VET funding

·        undertake work to identify transferrable skills between jobs and workforce skills gaps by refreshing sets of skill descriptors.

·        for apprenticeships, a new incentive regime that encourages employers to continue to invest in employing more apprentices across all industries, and programs to improve completion rates and increase the diversity of apprentices 

·        ongoing attention to development of foundation skills for the current/future workforce, and support for workplaces to engage in refreshed  language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills development.



The Centre will engage with Jobs and Skills Australia from the outset. Join our Member Network to ensure your voice is heard through our engagement and to hear about opportunities for direct engagement.

Public TAFE 


Ensure at least 70% of Commonwealth VET funding is for public TAFE – the new Government has stated TAFE is the backbone of our vocational educational system and has been neglected. 


Labor’s $50 million TAFE Technology Fund  
Will improve IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and tele-health simulators across the country. 


 The Centre supports both public and private quality vocational education and training. 




Utilise the facilities of your local TAFE for training and applied research for your business.


Contact the Centre to connect you with relevant TAFEs


Startup Year for university student/graduate entrepreneurs

Income contingent HELP loans to 2,000 final-year students and graduates in accredited start-up accelerator program:  

·        provide students with the option of taking an additional business-focused year working with an accelerator to develop their innovative startup ideas 

·        Startup Year entrepreneurs must be participating in an accredited program, such as a university accelerator 

·        Accelerator programs provide mentoring and professional development 





This initiative is an important support for the development of entrepreneurial capabilities and new businesses  which could become potential supply chain partners.