A national agreement has been struck between the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments that will unlock billions of dollars to build the skills and prosperity of Victoria’s workforce, ensuring it remains the most educated and highly skilled state in Australia.

Trainer in front of computer training students

The five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) – which will take effect from January next year – was developed under principles agreed by National Cabinet, and will embed national cooperation and strategic investment into Victoria’s TAFE and training sector.

The Commonwealth Government is prepared to invest up to $3.15 billion to expand access to Victoria’s VET sector, which will support quality training, and address critical skills needs. This investment will further strengthen Victoria’s existing investment of over $4 billion into the sector since 2014.

With Victoria expected to experience significant workforce growth over the next five years, the NSA will provide investment into training, infrastructure, and initiatives to uplift participation.

The NSA places TAFE at the heart of the sector reform, with the agreement including significant baseline funding commitments. In addition, Victoria will receive a $105 million extension to the Free TAFE funding arrangements, securing an additional 62,800 Free TAFE places for Victorian students over the next three years.

This builds on the Victorian Government’s existing commitment to Free TAFE, including the lifting of eligibility requirements which means all Victorians can access tuition-free training across more than 80 courses in priority areas, even if they already hold a separate qualification.

Nationally, the $12.6 billion investment by the Commonwealth includes an extra $2.4 billion in flexible funding to support State and Territory skills sectors with capacity to deliver skills for critical and emerging industries. Priorities include:

  • Clean energy and Net Zero transformation of the economy.
  • Australia’s sovereign capability, including advanced manufacturing skills, national security, food security and construction.
  • Care and support services.
  • Ensuring Australia’s digital and technology capability.

Additional major reforms will include the establishment of nationally networked TAFE Centres of Excellence involving partnerships between TAFEs, universities, Jobs and Skills Councils and industry.

In a historic first, a new National Stewardship model will coordinate investment in skills across the country to address national priority areas, while also providing States and Territories with flexibility to meet local industry skills needs.

It is a significant shift away from the short- term, transactional working relationships of the past decade, with a new National Stewardship approach on skills providing the nation with a framework for cooperation across state borders and across national and State and Territory priorities.

Learn more about Melbourne’s highly skilled talent.