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$476m Industry Skills Fund a lifeline for NSW businesses

30 January, 2015

A new federal government fund worth $476 million hopes to enable NSW businesses to boost the skills of their workforce.

The Industry Skills Fund was announced by Assistant Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham last Thursday (29 January).

Birmingham said the Fund's purpose was also to boost business productivity and competitiveness.

"I urge growing NSW businesses to access support to upskill or retrain their employees," he said.

"With more than 30 per cent of Australian businesses located in NSW, the Industry Skills Fund will provide up to $154 million to NSW employers to access around 66,000 training and support places.

"The Fund will help businesses in NSW with training places and skills advice over the next four years.

"We want to offer real help and real solutions to the industry in NSW."

The end of "training for training's sake"

Birmingham said the former Labor government had wasted billions on skills programs which had "failed to deliver training that led to real jobs".

"The era of training for training's sake is over," he said.

"Employers will be supported to decide what training is needed in their business, and which training provider they want to work with.

"The Industry Skills Fund is a key part of the Abbott government's ambitious program of vocational education and training (VET) reform to lift the quality of both training providers and their courses, enhancing the contribution VET makes to the employment prospects of students and the competitiveness of Australia's economy."

Businesses wanting support to train workers will be required to make a contribution between 25 and 75 per cent to the cost of training. The co-contribution rate depends on the number of employees, with smaller businesses receiving higher levels of support.

Guidelines and more information are available.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

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