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2021 VET Funding - Everything You Need to Know

December 10, 2020

With a spotlight being shone brighter than ever before on the importance of the VET sector, Government funding for vocational education and training (VET) will be a welcome relief. Specifically, after the largest disruption of the education system in history, Government investments in VET will have a lasting impact on the current, emerging and future workforce for years to come. 

We know by now you’re probably a 2021 funding expert, but with all its varied components it can be helpful to have a clear breakdown of any skills packages and other Government investments.  


Under the $2 billion JobTrainer Fund, 340,700 Australians will have access to free, or low-fee training courses. The Fund will support job seekers, school leavers and young people to remain engaged and have the opportunity to acquire essential skills that will help them gain employment. 

The focus here is on the increasing importance of short courses or skill sets in VET for upskilling and job-readiness.These skills sets will contribute to lifelong learning and complement full qualifications. The Government has identified 

But, what does this mean for you? Well if your RTO is supporting short courses that are in line with the areas of identified skills, such as health, aged and disability care, IT and trades, then you’re in luck. Ensure your course details are up to date on MySkills as prospective learners begin to search for options. 

Additionally, JobTrainer aims to keep those already in apprenticeships and traineeships employed. This is an extension of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees fund, where eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of an eligible apprentice or trainee’s wages paid until 31 March 2021. 

Top occupations supported by the 50% wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees - National Skills Commission

Higher education short courses and Commonwealth Supported Places

For workers looking to upskill in faster training pathways, 50,000 higher education courses will be delivered in 2021, including in teaching, health, science, information technology and agriculture. Total Government funding totals $252 million. Additionally, training providers will be supported alongside universities with $299 million to provide an additional 12,000 undergraduate Commonwealth Supported Places in 2021.


The Australian Government’s JobMaker Plan has been designed to bring more Australian’s back to work and support a stronger economic recovery. 

At its heart, JobMaker is focused on creating jobs and boosting the skills of Australians, which will be primarily accomplished through core incentives. 

Supporting Australians with Hiring Credit 

We know it can be challenging for RTOs to deliver successful work-based learning (WBL) programs for learners. Although it can often yield high returns, WBL is costly, time-consuming and resource-reliant.

The $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit could give RTOs the power to forge better relationships with more willing employers to create around 450,000 new positions for young people aged 16 to 35 from 2020-2023. 

With an increasing number of schools offering some form of VET work experience, RTOs may have the opportunity to take on more experienced and knowledgeable learners. As WBL has been found to lead to better employment outcomes, investing in WBL going into 2021 will be integral. 

Additionally, the Boosting Apprenticeships Wage Subsidy will also support 100,000 new apprentices and trainees across Australia. With this support, we’ll see many more young people take on VET study, further increasing the 4.2 million learners choosing VET, versus one million choosing university[1]. 

Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship 

This year’s many challenges have shown the VET sector’s ability to gracefully move through a steep learning curve to adapt to online learning becoming the norm. It’s with the same urgency that the VET industry should embrace the opportunity to create impactful change for women in STEM. 

With the gender gap in STEM being a significant issue, the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) Grants Program is welcomed with open arms going into 2021. 

The Government is also investing $24.8 million to support 500 women in a four year STEM program of industry-sponsored advanced apprenticeship-style courses. 

With more Australian STEM workers already having a VET qualification rather than a university degree[2], the future of women in STEM and VET is bright. 

Apprenticeships data management system 

Work-based learning may be supported further with the establishment of the Apprenticeships Data Management System, replacing the outdated Youth Internet Management System. As apprenticeships are the gold standard of integrated workplace learning, employers of apprenticeships play a vital role in the formation of their apprentices’ skills. 

The new System could streamline many processes for work-based learning, including automating payments to employers. With $91.6 million being invested over four years from 2020-21 and $1.8 million per year ongoing, this system has big potential to increase trust in VET and improve learning and training experiences for all. 


With economic growth at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it is no surprise that more attention has been placed on the skills sector. Due to its dynamic and diverse market, vocational education and training (VET) will pave the way for many Australian’s to upskill or reskill to support industry needs.

Ensure your RTO is equipped with a student management system that will support continued growth in 2021. 


  1. A growing number of Australians are choosing vocational training over university - SBS
  2. Why VET is vital to the STEM conversation

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