National Skills Agreement

The Australian Government is committed to strengthening the VET sector through a new 5-year National Skills Agreement (NSA), commencing January 2024.

This agreement is focused on:

  • delivering high-quality, responsive and accessible education and training to boost productivity
  • supporting Australians to obtain the skills they need to participate in rewarding work
  • ensuring Australia has the skilled workforce needed for critical industries and the delivery of high-quality services

All governments have committed to a vision and guiding principles for the NSA. The NSA will provide States and Territories with access to additional Commonwealth investment of $4.1 billion over 5 years from 2024. This is made up of Commonwealth investment of $3.7 billion, in addition to $400 million to support another 300,000 TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) fee-free places.

Subject to successful negotiation of the NSA, this will take total Commonwealth investment in state and territory training systems to over $12.8 billion over 5 years.

Major reform areas in the NSA include:

  • completion rates and support for students who face barriers, with a coordinated national effort to lift completion rates and improve outcomes for students and apprentices, with a focus on students facing barriers and those historically underrepresented in the workforce, including those with disability.
  • incentivising enrolments in essential sectors such as care and support (aged, disability, veterans and early childhood and education), clean economy, manufacturing and sovereign capability (including defence industries), construction, agriculture, hospitality, tourism, cybersecurity and technology.
  • women’s participation and gender equality, with a coordinated effort to support enrolments and completions. An emphasis will be on accessing skills in better paid occupations including trades traditionally dominated by men. Men will also be encouraged to participate and gain skills in fields where women have been historically over-represented, such as care.
  • working closely with First Nations people, their communities and training providers to support skill development that works for them and supports their career opportunities.
  • foundation skills and the need for coordinated effort to ensure that Australian adults lacking language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills can gain essential skills for work, career progression and successful completion of a vocational education training course or an apprenticeship.
  • workforce capability and the development of a VET Workforce Blueprint to strengthen and support a high-quality teacher workforce, to delivery up to date training and an industry relevant curriculum.

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