The new Assistant Minister for Education and Training has clearly not used the summer break to study up on his new portfolio.
In his media release today, advising that applications were open for the new $476 million Industry Skills Fund (ISF), Simon Birmingham said that it was the first time that employers were able to put forward their own proposals to access government funds to upskill their workers.
“Simon Birmingham has obviously not read his incoming Minister’s brief which should have provided details on Labor’s $700 million National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF),” Sharon Bird said.
“His government’s ‘new’ fund is not only not new, but it is also half the size of Labor’s National Workforce Development Fund.
“The Industry Skills Fund also has a much narrower target of small and medium size businesses in a specified range of industries. This completely misses opportunities in sectors with growing skills shortages such as child care, aged and disability care.
“The new Minister can spin this announcement as much as he likes but it won’t change the fact that the announced program is half the size of Labor’s program and has a much narrower focus so many more employers and workers will miss out on the opportunity to upskill for the future.”