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Victoria launches Skills First - Ai Group Comment

"The launch today of Victoria’s new approach to training - Skills First - to commence in 2017, builds on the previous 18 months of renewing TAFE and restoring confidence in the VET sector following the Mackenzie VET Funding Review. The Government will continue to invest $1.2 billion annually to support the reform measures," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"This new approach and the associated initiatives announced by the Victorian Minister for Training and Skills, Steve Herbert, are welcomed by Ai Group. We are pleased to note that the Victorian Government supports the notion of a managed contestable funding market which we have long advocated. Given the significant support for TAFE, it is essential that they are responsive to industry needs and that quality private providers also become a key ingredient in the VET sector.

"While supporting the more rationalised approach through the Funded Courses List, Ai Group is disappointed that this does not extend to skill sets which industry has clearly supported, especially in the trades.

"The reforms are forward-looking through the introduction of the Workforce Training Innovation Fund. This will strengthen industry and training partnerships and provide a boost to innovation in the state’s economy.

"The overall package of reform measures represents an important step in re-establishing the prominence and standing of training in the State," Mr Willox said.

The key features of the new approach include:

  • A continuation of the contestable training market but with a more managed and focused approach
  • An extra $114 million in 2017 for TAFE including a supplementary stream to meet their distinct role as a public provider in communities
  • A renewed focus on quality with new and more accountable contracts and a quality blitz on providers
  • $40 million for a new Workforce Training Innovation Fund to promote training innovation in emerging and priority industries
  • $30 million for a Regional and Specialist Training Fund to assist thin training markets
  • $20 million to support high needs learners and an extension of the Reconnect program to support an extra 3,300 students
  • A new targeted Funded Courses List focused on training to with strong job outcomes including apprenticeships and high-value traineeships and courses linked to government priorities
  • Funding subsidies available through the Funded Courses List that reflect the cost of training

Details about the range of measures can be found at:

Media Enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347