JobTrainer Is the Latest Coronavirus Job Initiative — What Does it Mean, And Are You Eligible?

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The federal government has announced a new program, JobTrainer, designed to help ease Australia’s growing unemployment rate. While it sounds like a new work sneaker or another indie supergroup, it’s the latest initiative aiming to up-skill a young workforce that has suddenly found itself under or unemployed.

What is JobTrainer?

JobTrainer is the latest employment support initiative in the ‘Job’ series after JobSeeker, JobKeeper and JobMaker were announced earlier this year to deal with economic impact of coronavirus.

It’s a two billion dollar federal government commitment offering free or low-cost short and long courses to those left unemployed by coronavirus, as well as providing $1.5 billion of the commitment to wage subsidies for apprentices. It’s projected to create up to 340,700 new positions to support school-leavers struggling in an overcrowded job market, but it needs buy-ins from the states and territories too.


Funding recap

  • $1.5 billion in federal government funding to go to apprenticeship wage subsidies
  • $500 million in federal government funding to go to low or free courses for up-skilling and re-skilling
  • $500 million in state and territory funding to support the low or free course initiative

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would offer $500 million for courses, but it expected the states and territories to match that in a joint funding commitment in order for the initiative to go ahead. In a press conference Thursday, he confirmed all regions but Victoria, which he said was occupied with a major COVID-19 outbreak, had agreed to funding the program.

“JobTrainer will ensure more Australians have the chance to reskill or upskill to fill the jobs on the other side of this crisis,” the Prime Minister said in a press release.

“COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover.

“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 JobTrainer courses are expected to become available in September, and what they’ll cover will be determined by the National Skills Commission (NSC) with input from the states. It’s expected courses will be related to health care, social assistance, transport, postal and warehousing, manufacturing, and retail and wholesale trade as identified by the NSC in a recent report.

Am I eligible?

The details are still being ironed out, with states and territories in discussions to determine who the program will apply to. It’s likely it will apply specifically to school-leavers looking to get their first jobs out of education and who are struggling to compete with more experienced job seekers.

It’s also expected the courses will be available for those on JobSeeker as they deal with an uncertain job market on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

As for the wage subsidies portion of the package, it will expand on the previous subsidy announcement to include medium businesses with fewer than 200 employees which had apprentices employed at 1 July 2020.

The program would be extended a further six months until March 2021 and would cover an estimated 50 per cent of the wages of apprentices and trainees.

Morrison said the new announcement would specifically apply to about 16,000 apprentices — six per cent of the total apprenticeship figure — who had their training suspended or cancelled due to coronavirus.

It’s expected more details will become available in the coming weeks, clarifying some of the finer details.

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