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Skills for the future: Now.

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Skills for the Future - Now

12 October 2006

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, today welcomed a major package to assist those Australians who wish to improve their qualifications and upgrade their workplace skills.

Announced by the Prime Minister, the Skills for the Future package includes initiatives worth $837 million over five years.

The package includes a substantial new investment in Australia’s future engineering skills.

Minister Bishop said the Audit of Science, Engineering and Technology Skills, released in July 2006, found that demand for engineering skills is expected to exceed the supply of engineering graduates in the coming years.

“To address this potential shortfall, from 1 January 2008, the Australian Government will provide 500 additional Commonwealth-supported engineering places at universities,” Minister Bishop said.

“Universities will be able to utilise the places in particular areas of engineering which are most in demand.”

Minister Bishop said the package also offers additional employer incentives for engineering apprenticeships to support more Australians reaching higher level technical skills at Diploma and Advanced Diploma levels.

“This package is directly linked to Australia’s economic prosperity.”

“For Australia to compete in a rapidly-changing, globalised marketplace we must build a highly skilled, flexible and responsive workforce.”

“Lifelong learning is crucial to our success as a nation and this package puts centre stage the importance of continually upgrading

skills, from basic to high level skills, throughout their working life.”

“Today’s employers are demanding a higher level of skills, a broader range of skills and more frequent updating of skills. They are also looking for a workforce with initiative.”

The Skills for the Future package includes a major investment in improving the basic skills of Australia’s workforce. It will particularly assist adults to gain post-school qualifications and skills that have become essential in the workplace.

New financial incentives will help more Australians looking to take up a trade apprenticeship in mid-career. Apprentices in traditional trades will also receive support to help them gain the necessary skills to run their own businesses.

For more information on Skills for the Future go to

Media Contacts: Minister Bishop’s Office: Murray Hansen 0417 886 155 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Media Unit 02 6240 7300

Non-media queries: 1300 363 079

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