The Australian government has developed a program that will benefit businesses across the nation and help to develop a more skilled workforce. The most exciting part of this initiative is the fact that small businesses will receive greater assistance to take part in the Industry Skills Fund.
What the Fund Is
The fund is a part of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. The goal is to provide support services and training positions for more than 250,000 Australians. The fund also gives priority to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). How does it do that?
Growth Opportunities for SMEs
The initiative provides both skills advice to maximize the benefit of training as well as a grant to provide training. The format is a co-investment, meaning that the business will have to pay a portion of the training costs. The advantage for SMEs is the fact that grants are awarded based on a businesses’ size. The smaller the business, the larger percentage of the skills training that the government will provide a grant for.
For example, micro businesses (those with four employees or less) will only need to pay 25% of the training costs themselves. Meanwhile, large businesses with more than 200 employees will receive a grant for 25% of training costs and will need to foot 75% of the bill themselves.
Certain industries have been earmarked as being a priority for developing a skilled workforce. Thus, these industries are the most likely to receive a grant for training. However, any industry is welcome to apply, even if they are not receiving priority status at this time. Some examples of priority industries are:
– Medical Technology and Pharmaceuticals
– Advanced Manufacturing
– Food and Agribusiness
– Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources
– Enabling Technology and Services
– Mining Equipment, Technology, and Services
What It Can Mean for Your Business
Individual businesses, even a sole proprietorship with no employees, can apply for training, and receive a grant based on business size. Helping industries to develop a skilled workforce ensures that the future generation will still be able to run the businesses of today. Even family businesses can acquire inexpensive training for children who are employees. These skills can prove invaluable for small, local businesses.