Delivering the skills for a growing economy: Free vocational scholarships for 200,000 young people

Published 2nd February, 2015

The NSW Government will make it easier to get a job for at least 240,000 young people, through a package of vocational education and apprenticeship measures.

The pioneering measures target those with limited means in our community, including residents of social housing.

NSW Premier Mike Baird made the Reskilling NSW announcement today with Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton and Oatley MP Mark Coure.

“The NSW Government has created more than 145,000 new jobs over the last four years, and I want to ensure every young person in NSW has the skills they need to take up the opportunities that are out there in the fastest growing economy in the country,” Mr Baird said.

“The centrepiece of our plan is to make it free for 200,000 disadvantaged young people to go to TAFE and other vocational education and training providers – with priority for residents in social housing.

“The NSW Government today also signed an agreement with the state’s peak employer and industry groups to work together to train and employ more apprentices.

“The NSW Government is undertaking a mammoth infrastructure building program and we will ensure that as many young people as possible get an opportunity to start their working life on these iconic projects,” Mr Baird said.

“As part of our plan, we will require contractors to employ a minimum number of apprentices on every NSW Government project worth more than $100 million.”

The Reskilling NSW plan will provide:

  • $48 million for fee-free scholarships for 200,000 concession-eligible 15-30 year olds to undertake government-subsidised vocational education and training certificate courses, with priority given to concession eligible social housing residents;
  • $27 million for workplace learning for over 40,000 government school students each year who enrol in a vocational education and training course as part of their HSC; and
  • $8 million to provide viable pathways into education, training and employment for young people in regional areas.

Mr Piccoli said equipping young people with vocational skills is vital to the growth of the NSW economy.

“We want to support young students to make successful transitions from school to work and provide people in need with viable pathways into education, training and work,” Mr Piccoli said.

“As part of our plan we are providing $27 million into vocational education and training in schools to make it easier for students to transition into work and training.

“Structured workplace learning is an essential component of VET in schools which helps students gain practical skills in a real-world setting.

“As a regional MP, I am particularly pleased with the NSW Governments’ $8 million commitment to provide individualised support and guidance so that disengaged young people have every chance to return to training and find a job.”

Ms Upton said the fee-free scholarships would be welcomed by families in social housing.

“Finding a career is an important step in life and these fee-free scholarships ensure young people in social housing have even more opportunities to succeed,” she said.

Reskilling NSW builds on the NSW Government’s record investment in vocational education and training, which includes:

  • $2.3 billion in spending on vocational education and training in 2014/15, an 11 per cent increase compared to the last elected Government;
  • More than 60,000 additional training places in 2015 as a result of the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled reforms; and
  • $1.86 billion for TAFE NSW to deliver quality training across the state.
Published 2nd February, 2015