JobTrainer stimulus


16th July, 2020

$2bn ‘JobTrainer’ stimulus: Government turns focus to upskilling

The Government’s latest stimulus package, JobTrainer, aims to facilitate the upskilling of thousands of out-of-work Australians, while also extending incentives to businesses that employ apprentices.

First it was JobKeeper, then came JobSeeker, and now, it’s JobTrainer.

In a bid to offer support to the many thousands of Australians who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, the federal government has pledged $2 billion to ensure that jobseekers are given the training they need to re-enter the workforce.

The new program, which has been dubbed ‘JobTrainer’, will see the creation of an additional 340,700 apprenticeships and training places that will give jobseekers access to short and long vocational training courses to develop skillsets in growth sectors and forge the pathway to additional qualifications.

The Federal Government will be allocating $500 million toward creating these training opportunities, an amount which will need to be matched by the state and territory governments that wish to access the program.

According to SmartCompany, the Prime Minster said all states outside of Victoria and WA had already either “fully signed up” to the program, or were on the brink of finalising their commitment to it.

In his press release announcing the new program, the PM said that this funding would be used to ensure that local jobseekers are given the chance to “reskill or upskill” so that they are well placed to fill jobs after the crisis.

“The jobs and skills we’ll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday.

In addition to its focus on subsidising vocational courses, the package will also facilitate the $1.5 billion expansion of the wage incentive to help keep apprentices at work, which was announced in March earlier this year and given an initial $1.3 billion price tag.

While the initial program was only available to small businesses and meant to expire in September of this year, this expansion will now allow both small and medium sized businesses to take advantage of the program until March 2021.

Australian unemployment is on the rise

The announcement of this latest JobTrainer stimulus package came after the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a statement saying that the Australian unemployment rate had jumped from 7.1 percent in May to 7.4 percent in June. This spike in unemployment meant that almost one million people were now out of work.

To further paint the picture of the current state of employment, the statement also highlighted that hours worked in June remained 6.8 percent lower than they were in March.

MYOB research shows a drop in confidence for SMEs

While the JobTrainer package has been designed to increase hope among the recently unemployed, MYOB’s Business Monitor survey found that small business owners are losing confidence in the chances for ‘V’-shaped economic recovery and are bracing themselves for an extended period of economic downturn.

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The bi-annual research report found that 36 percent of business owners believed that the impact of the pandemic will last for an additional six-to-twelve months, and 26 percent predicted another one or two years of economic downturn, possibly longer.

But according to MYOB’s chief executive Greg Ellis, Australian SMEs remain positive and resilient.

“While 39 percent of small businesses predict revenue will be down in 12 months’ time compared to now, Australian SMEs are incredibly resilient, and almost two-thirds of business owners are confident they can get back to normal once the pandemic has ended,” said Ellis.