What is Skills First?

From January 2017, Victoria's training and TAFE system will be overhauled through Skills First.

A new approach to training will be implemented, setting a high benchmark for training quality, and supporting the courses that are most likely to lead to employment.

Skills First builds on the Andrews Labor Government's commitment to the training and TAFE system. It will ensure Victoria's training and TAFE system is better managed and delivers programs that lead to jobs.

Skills First offers real training for real jobs, through:

Stronger TAFE system
  • High quality training that students and industry can trust, aligned to industry and workforce needs.
  • A real voice for industry in training.
  • Funding for high needs learners who need additional support to engage with and succeed in education and training.
  • Access to targeted, relevant training for students in regional areas.

The Government will continue its significant investment in the training and TAFE system and rigorous new standards will have to be met before funding is provided. Funding will only be provided to training that meets the needs of students, industry and the economy.

We’ve consulted widely with employers and we will continue to do so. We want to know what they need from training and which courses should be prioritised. We want to ensure emerging needs are met and that training leads to real jobs that benefit the economy.

Growth sectors will get skilled workers

Skills First will ensure Victoria can provide the skilled workers needed for the six sectors primed for major job growth: medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy technology, food and fibre, transport, defence and construction technology, international education and professional services.

It will also produce the skilled workers we need to support the Government’s record number of infrastructure projects, including the Melbourne Metro Rail Project and the Level Crossing Removal Project.

Responsive funding

The Government will continue to invest $1.2 billion annually in the training and workforce development of Victorians. Funding will continue to be contestable to support the delivery of responsive and relevant training, but with much closer management of the system. This will be complemented by new targeted funding streams, including a supplementary funding stream for TAFEs, a new Workforce Training Innovation Fund, a High Needs Learners Fund and the Regional and Specialist Training Fund.

Our commitment to restoring TAFEs

TAFEs are the engine room for Victorian jobs, delivering around 70 per cent of all apprenticeships and retraining Victorians with skills to help them transition to new jobs. Under Skills First, they will be recognised and supported in this critical role.

The capacity of TAFEs to meet the needs of their communities will be restored with funding each year to recognise their distinct role as the public provider supporting learners of all ages and abilities, no matter where they live.

A system supporting quality providers

The days of low quality, dodgy training providers intent on exploiting the system and undermining the viability of quality public and private providers are over. Private providers will be able to focus their business plans on delivering great training rather than worrying about poor quality, low cost competitors and their bottom line. Skills First will ensure quality providers can successfully compete to meet the needs of students, industry and the economy.

A commitment to quality

Through the introduction of Skills First, funding subsidies will reflect the real cost of qualifications and ensure high quality training meets the needs of industry and employers. New and more accountable contracts will ensure that Government funds are well spent.

Industry at the forefront

A new Workforce Training Innovation Fund will provide funding for new training programs and products, projects or initiatives. This will include specialised curriculum development and applied research that develops new skills where there are identified gaps for new, emerging and priority sectors. The fund will support strong partnerships between industry, TAFEs, dual sector universities and high quality training providers.

Supporting jobs in our regions

Training to meet the unique skills needs of regional areas and specialised training will be supported through an initial $30 million in funds for 2017. The Regional and Specialist Training Fund will ensure there is training in regions and industries where the current system lacks the ability to meet the needs of local businesses.

Reconnecting Victorians

An initial $20 million in funds for 2017 will support high needs learners who need extra help and encouragement in education and training. The Reconnect program will be extended to the end of 2017, supporting an extra 3,300 students.

For more information and resources on Skills First, see: Skills First Resources or contact us at skillsfirst.enquiry@edumail.vic.gov.au