22 November 2020

Up to 3,500 free training places for school leavers and COVID-hit workers

| Ian Bushnell
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Jobseekers outside Centrelink in Woden

The Centrelink line in March when COVID-19 restrictions began to bite. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Lost your job during the COVID-19 shutdown? Finding it hard to get back on your feet? A new free training program may help you acquire the skills you need to re-enter the workforce.

The $16.75 million jointly funded ACT and Federal Government JobTrainer program is offering up to 3500 vocational education and training places to young people aged 17 to 24 who have finished school, and job seekers who are out of work and/or in receipt of income support payments.

Students must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand passport holder resident for more than six months, or an eligible visa holder.

The free training places, available until next September, include a range of short courses that are nationally accredited through registered training organisations including CIT.

Minister for Skills Chris Steel said the program would prioritise places for those most affected by the pandemic and would focus on courses in industries with an identified need for skilled workers.

“School leavers, young people and casual workers are among the hardest hit through the COVID-19 pandemic, with many casual workers losing their jobs and school leavers wondering what the future holds,” Mr Steel said.

“We know the pandemic will have a lasting impact on our economy and our community; however, there are jobs in emerging industries that will need a greater volume of skilled workers and this presents new opportunities for those willing to take up training.”

Mr Steel said CIT would be delivering free training across a wide range of areas in need through short courses and longer certificate of attainment courses.

”The message to parents is if you have a young person who is looking to get skills to get into a job, make them aware of the JobTrainer fund. This is their opportunity to get free training to get the skills that they need to get into employment,” he said.

Mr Steel said growth industries in the ACT included healthcare, community services, renewable energy and cybersecurity, and areas such as hospitality would need skilled workers when as that sector recovers.

“This is a great time to take advantage of quality training without the financial constraints that can be associated with studying,” he said.


Cybersecurity is a growth industry in the ACT and courses will be available. Photo: File.

Mr Steel said the program was aimed at those most affected by the pandemic.

”This is a significant investment to support people through the pandemic and the economic recovery, and industries, some of which have been hardest hit like hospitality, to make sure we’ve got more people moving into those areas of employment,” he said.

”And in areas where we’ve had a significant skill shortage, where we need more people to get the skills for those jobs, that’s critical for the economy as well.”

CIT executive director of industry engagement and strategic relations Paul Ryan said the organisation was really happy to be working with the government on removing any financial barriers to training.

”Skills and re-skilling is a major advantage for young jobseekers to be competitive in what is a difficult jobs market,” he said.

CIT already offers a range of courses covering IT, project management, customer service and construction, with more coming online in Semester 1.

Mr Ryan said a key benefit of studying through CIT are connections with employers, particularly during courses.

”We’ll be able to match them with employers and fast track them into jobs,” he said.

The ACT Government is investing $8.4 million in the program, matched by the Australian Government to bring the total funding for free training places to $16.75 million.

Mr Steel said preparing Canberrans to re-skill and up-skill was an important part of the ACT’s economic recovery plan to drive job creation and ensure Canberrans were prepared for future employment opportunities in emerging industries.

The ACT Government has committed to keeping Canberrans employed and growing jobs to reach a target of more than 250,000 jobs by 2025.

More information about the JobTrainer Fund in the ACT and the full list of RTOs is available at JobTrainer.

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