A National Training Entitlement will improve access to training for students wanting to gain their first certificate III qualification.
Jobs in Australia are changing and a certificate III qualification is emerging as the minimum qualification needed to achieve a rewarding career.
Already, entry level positions in growing sectors such as aged care, child care, transport and logistics increasingly require higher minimum qualifications such as a certificate III. On average, wages for people without a certificate III qualification are at least around $180 per week lower than for those with a certificate III or above qualification (see Figure 7).
National Training Entitlement – what the Commonwealth is seeking:
- The first ever guarantee for all Australians from post school to age pension age to have access to a government subsidised training place for a first certificate III qualification so that more Australians can participate in building a modern, advanced economy. Students can access the entitlement through any training provider approved by the relevant state or territory to deliver publicly subsidised training.
- Students will also be able to access foundation skills training necessary to complete the certificate III qualification, such as language, literacy and numeracy training.
- While student fees charged for study may be different in different jurisdictions, all states and territories will have appropriate concessions in place so that disadvantaged students do not face additional financial barriers to study.
- Students who are clients of Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services providers will pay the same fees as other students and will benefit from any relevant concessions applicable to them.
- Students must meet the relevant entry criteria for the course, and must not already have a qualification at certificate III or higher.
- Access to a particular course will be subject to the availability of training places in the relevant location.
Figure 7: Mean weekly earnings in current main job by education attainment 2009
Source: ABS 6278.0 Education and training experience customised report – Employees aged 15 years and over, excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises
Unemployment rates are also significantly higher for people with lower level skills (see Figure 8).
Figure 8: Unemployment rate by qualification level
Source: ABS 6227.0 Survey of Education and Work, 2001–2011.
All working age Australians without at least a certificate III qualification should be entitled to a government subsidy to train for the jobs available in an advanced economy
As part of its $1.75 billion offer to the states and territories to reform the training system, the Commonwealth is asking states and territories to introduce an entitlement to training for anyone of working age without a certificate III or higher qualification.
At a minimum, the National Training Entitlement will give every Australian older than compulsory secondary school age and younger than aged pension age (currently 64 and rising to 67 by 2023) the right to access:
Certificate III is the first level of post-school qualification shown to have a significant positive impact on a person’s employment and earnings. It is also the typical qualification level for entry into growing industries such as aged care, child care, hospitality and small business.
As a result of this reform
- All Australians without entry level qualifications, whether they are just starting out in the workforce or have been working for some time, will have the opportunity to get government subsidised vocational training, leading to a qualification that will enhance their employment opportunities.
- Affordable training at certificate III level will be more accessible.
- Businesses will have access to more skilled workers with a certificate III qualification.
- The national training system will become more responsive to the needs of students and businesses, rather than governments determining the supply of training courses.
- government subsidised training for their first certificate III qualification if they meet the relevant entry criteria for the course;
- government subsidised training for certificate I and certificate II qualifications where these courses are components of the certificate III training; and
- foundation skills training, such as language, literacy and numeracy training, if they need this training to prepare for training at the certificate III level.
States and territories may choose to go beyond this minimum guarantee, for example, to expand the entitlement beyond certificate III or to make the entitlement available to people who already have a qualification at certificate III or higher.
The National Training Entitlement will be simple to access. States and territories will publish details of all providers who are approved to offer the National Training Entitlement in their jurisdiction. Students will be able to go to any of these approved providers to enrol in a certificate III (or associated certificate I, certificate II or foundation skills course).
All places offered under the National Training Entitlement will be government-subsidised. While subsidies vary significantly from state to state, and according to the course studied, the government subsidy can be as high as $7,800 per student for some courses. Disadvantaged students may also receive additional subsidies to help with the costs of training not covered by the National Training Entitlement.
Like all students, people accessing the National Training Entitlement will need to meet course entry and eligibility requirements, and to check that there are places available at the time they wish to enrol.
States will be encouraged to offer a higher level of entitlement than the national minimum, where this is affordable and able to be managed. The Victorian Training Guarantee and the South Australian Skills For All reforms from mid 2012 already go beyond this. However, at a minimum, all states will be asked to offer an entitlement to at least the first certificate III qualification.
The introduction of a National Training Entitlement is a major reform to the national training system and states and territories are expected to have it implemented by 2013–14.
Getting a place in a training course to change direction*
Sarah is a 29 year old single mum with two children in primary school. Since having the girls, she has found she likes caring for people and has been thinking about a career in nursing, but she isn’t qualified to get into the course.
The factory where Sarah has a part time office job has announced staff cutbacks so Sarah needs to turn her thoughts into actions. There aren’t many office jobs in her area. In fact there aren’t many jobs for people without specific skills or qualifications.
She sees that there are a lot of options if you work in aged care and her first aid skills from the factory could be useful, but these jobs also need a qualification.
After talking to her friends and doing a few internet searches, Sarah uses the My Skills website to compare training providers and finds several in her area that offer a Certificate III in Aged Care. They have various attendance options so she could work it in with picking the girls up from school.
Even better, Sarah’s state government has implemented the National Training Entitlement and she finds she is entitled to a government subsidised training place for a certificate III. One of the providers can offer her a subsidised place and the government subsidy will cover most of the cost of the training. Sarah has done some office equipment training courses but nothing that adds up to a certificate III qualification, so this is a real plus.
The aged care course can lead to qualifications in health studies, such as health assistance and enrolled nursing, so Sarah can do further training when the girls are in high school.
Sarah enrols: she now sees a very different future for herself and her family.
* Possible scenario once the reforms are in place