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Landmark skills agreement a boon for the Territory

The National Skills Agreement will provide up to $155 million over five years for the Territory skills and training sector.
CDU TAFE Deputy Chief Executive Robert Schwerdt said the Agreement would be beneficial for CDU and the community. 

Charles Darwin University (CDU) welcomes the landmark signing of the National Skills Agreement (NSA), which will be critical in developing training and addressing workforce shortages across the Northern Territory.

The five-year agreement was signed by the Territory and Federal Governments and will take effect from January next year.

The National Skills Agreement, developed and agreed to by National Cabinet, replaces the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD).

The National Skills Agreement will provide up to $155 million over five years for the Territory skills and training sector, around $80 million more than the current NASWD Special Purpose Payments.

The Agreement will include a range of reforms which will expand the Territory’s support to further develop our regional and remote communities, and ensure the Territory has the workforce it needs.

The National Skills Agreement places TAFE and public providers at the centre of the vocational education system, including the establishment of Centres of Excellence and leadership networks. 

The Agreement recognises the important role CDU has to support the stewardship of the vocational education sector in the Northern Territory, to help implement reforms to address critical skills needs through quality training.

Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said increased access to learning and training opportunities was critical to growing the economy and the Territory’s capabilities.

“Through my Governments work at National Cabinet and skills sector, we have advocated for this $155 million skills deal which will help boost our skilled opportunities and will help meet our workforce shortfall in critical sectors,” Ms Fyles said.

“We know how important it is for Territory students to have access to learning and training opportunities and courses. As well as business having access to home grown skilled workers.

“The Territory Labor Government continues to have a large investment in skills, with one of the highest ratio of state allocated government funds for VET.”

CDU TAFE, launched in February with a renewed focus on vocational education and training, has had a 32 per cent increase in enrolments compared to last year.

CDU TAFE Deputy Chief Executive Robert Schwerdt said the agreement was an invaluable boost to training for the Northern Territory.

“As the Northern Territory’s largest training provider, CDU TAFE is committed to working with the government and industry to develop our skilled workforce and be agile in the changing job market,” Mr Schwerdt said.

“The finalising of this agreement comes at a time when CDU TAFE continues to develop its footprint across the Northern Territory with on-country training, growing our presence in all the regions, and more resources dedicated to responding to the needs of regional and remote communities in and around Central Australia.”

Business, Jobs and Training Minister Paul Kirby said the funding was key to future-proofing the Territory’s workforce.

“The Territory Labor Government has worked with the Federal Government to show our commitment to skilling Territorians and improving our workforce," Mr Kirby said. 

“We need to train people now for the jobs of the future so we are ready to capitalise on projects which continue to bolster our economy.

“In the NT, 92 per cent of VET graduates in the NT were employed and/or continued on to further study after completing their training - well above the national average and the highest result in Australia.”

Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said creating opportunities for Territorians was at the centre of the Agreement.

"This National Skills Agreement, combined with our Fee-Free TAFE places, will mean more aged care workers, more childcare workers, more hospitality workers, and more Territorians with the skills that they need, but also the skills that our economy needs,” Mr Gosling said.

"This investment is on top of $414 million already committed for the delivery of a nationwide total 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE places from 2024.

“This creates more opportunities for young people, for mature age Territorians, for people living with disability, and for regional and remote learners - as well as improving women’s economic participation and Closing the Gap for Aboriginal Territorians.”

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