Investing in the workforce, improving work culture and boosting productivity are priorities for the Federal Government in their 2014 budget.
“The announcement of 10 big workforce initiatives indicates a shift to workforce engagement, productivity, transition and retention with major workforce capability development programmes to be rolled out over the next 4-6 years”, says Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner at Workforce BluePrint.
“A combination of investment in areas of growth like rail and road projects, regional development and diversification for sectors like automotive and defence is critical if Australia’s unemployment rate is to remain steady at 6-6.25%. This is the rate that has been used as the basis for planning by the federal government out to 2015-16 and I’m concerned that it’s not realistic”, Wendy points out.
“It’s going to be important that for major projects, industry, regional and enterprise workforce planning that the critical job roles and skills are identified not just at this time but also into the future. Clever workforce development solutions will need to be designed to fix problems and address gaps that are multidimensional,” Perry warns.
Whilst the big initiatives outlined here provide significant opportunities, many existing programmes have been deleted, reduced or consolidated. The workforce capability initiatives promote growth, encourage investment, structural adjustment, skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.
Workforce Development hand in hand with Economic Development
- A Growth Fund provides $100.6 million over 6 years with a $155 million fund to support new jobs, investment and economic growth in South Australia and Victoria.
- Manufacturing Transition Grants of $50 million over 3 years will assist manufacturers to transition to higher value or niche activities.
- Trade Support Loans for $439 million over 5 years will provide apprentices with financial assistance of up to $20 000 over a 4 year apprenticeship …available to apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List.
Industry Focused Training Providers will win
- An Industry Skills Fund provides $476 million from 1 January 2015 delivering 121 500 training places, …to support the training needs of small to medium enterprises which cannot be readily met by the national training system. Industries targeted will include: health and biomedical products; mining, oil and gas equipment technology and services; and advanced manufacturing, including defence and aerospace.
Employment Service Providers held to account
- Expanding the Workforce the Dole Programme will see $14.9 million invtested over 2 years and a pilot for Jobs Brokers in 18 of the 21 Priority Employment Areas.
- Disability Employment Services - $8.5 million over 2 years for a partial tender for the Disability Management Services component
- Restart offers an additional $304.1 million from 2014-15 to boost the wage subsidy for mature age job seekers aged 50 years or over.
Major Projects and Regional Workforce Development an economic multiplier
- The Infrastructure Growth Package provides a further $3.7 billion over 5 years for new investments to support economic growth and employment.
- National Stronger Regions Fund - $1 billion over 5 years for construction, expansion and enhancement of infrastructure across Australia.
Investing in Entrepreneurs and Small Business
- A new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme has been allocated, $484.2 million over five years with a new approach to industry policy. The programme will focus on supporting the commercialisation of good ideas, job creation and lifting the capability of small business, the provision of market and industry information, and the facilitation of access to business management advice and skills from experienced private sector providers and researchers.
Workforce BluePrint will hold a post-Budget webinar to discuss the potential impact and workforce implications.
Ph: +61 8 8387 9800 l Mobile: +61 (0)416 150 491 l Fax: +61 8 8387 9820
Leila HendersonM: 0414 69 70 71
Wendy Perry and Associates (WPAA) was established in 2002 as a Vocational and Educational and Training (VET) specialist with Workforce BluePrint (a division of the company) launched in 2006. The company provides workforce development and planning, VET and contact centre consultancy, and small business support services in addition to projects completed for Commonwealth, State/Territory and local governments.
Workforce BluePrint provides Workforce Development and Planning Services for Clusters, Community Development, Firms, Industry Development, Major Projects, Networks, Organisations, Regional, Rural and Remote Development, Small and Medium Sizes Enterprises (SME), Small Business Health Checks, Supply Chain and Value Chains.
Wendy A Perry, Head Workforce Planner
M: +61 416 150 491