$402 million Jobs and Skills Councils to strengthen our skills sector

Release type: Media Release Date: 13 December 2022

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Minister for Skills and Training

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the skills sector can better serve Australian workers, businesses and the wider economy.

We’re investing $402 million over the next four years to establish Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) to help address skills shortages and broader workforce challenges.

Formerly known as Industry Clusters, the new JSCs will have a strong connection to Jobs and Skills Australia, aligning with the Australian Government’s vision for new industry engagement arrangements.

Led by industry, the JSCs will bring all parties to the table to find solutions to the workforce challenges and skills needs currently facing industry sectors across Australia. This commitment to tripartite leadership will bring together employers and unions that work in partnership with governments and the training sector.

I’m pleased to confirm the following 10 industry groupings, as the outcomes from Stage One of the Grant Opportunity process:

  • Agribusiness, covering industries of primary production—plants and animals—as well as textiles, clothing and footwear, forestry, timber and furnishing. Emerging industries around natural resources security and environmental management.
  • Arts, Personal Services, Retail, Tourism and Hospitality, covering ‘high street’ human services such as hairdressing, floristry, travel, hospitality as well as the creative economy with fine art, ceramics, music, dance, theatre and screen and provide wholesale and retail services. Emerging industries include online sales.
  • Energy, Gas and Renewables, covering the industries of electricity, gas, renewable energy and storage or the use of resources in the production of energy. Emerging industries include hydrogen.
  • Finance, Technology and Business, covering professional services or otherwise supporting the needs of a successful business including marketing, accounting human resources, digital literacy, information and communication technologies. Emerging industries of cyber security, financial technologies, artificial intelligence and the internet of things will also be included.
  • Manufacturing, covering industries of manufacturing and engineering, light manufacturing including pharmaceuticals, print, food and advanced manufacturing. Emerging industries include defence and space technologies.
  • Mining and Automotive, covering industries involved in mineral exploration and extraction operations and automotive. Emerging industries covering driverless automotive technologies.
  • Transport and Logistics, covering industries involved in warehousing and distribution operations as well as transport, including rail, maritime, aviation and logistical support and supply chains. Emerging industries include omnichannel logistics and distribution and air and space transport and logistics.
  • Public Safety and Government, covering industries directly involved in public service (e.g., local government, police, corrective services, public safety).
  • Early Educators, Health and Human Services, covering industries that offer community services and support such as aged care, disability services, mental health, early childhood education and health, sport and recreation services.
  • Building, Construction and Property, covering industries that provide property services, small or large scale construction services, traditional building as well as large scale civil infrastructure services.

JSCs will work in partnership with Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to align workforce planning for their sectors. This is an essential first step in determining job roles, skills needs and training pathways, combining industry-specific intelligence with JSA’s forecasting and modelling.

This will be crucial in making sure industry has the right workers with the right skills that Australia needs.

JSCs will operate as a national network of industry owned and industry led organisations, working collaboratively to improve system responsiveness, build stakeholder confidence and drive high-quality outcomes for the VET sector, learners and business.

JSCs will identify skills and workforce needs for their sectors, map career pathways across education sectors, develop VET training products, support collaboration between industry and training providers to improve training and assessment practice and act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting their industries.

This is a fundamental shift in the way industry engagement is undertaken in the VET sector and will help us tackle one of the greatest economic challenges in decades, namely the lack of skilled workers.

The existing arrangements of the 67 Industry Reference Committees will be wound up by the end of 2022.

All successful applicants will now commence their establishment phase to set up their entities ahead of progressing to Stage Two of the Grant Opportunity, which will be open from December 2022. We remain committed to ensuring JSCs are operational from January 2023.

For more information on JSCs and how to register your interest, visit Industry Engagement Reforms at www.dewr.gov.au