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New Bilateral Skills agreement to increase CDU’s training capacity

Charles Darwin University (CDU) will receive hundreds of fee-free TAFE places, as part of a new skills deal made with the Northern Territory and Federal Governments to develop the NT’s workforce.
Charles Darwin University (CDU) will receive hundreds of fee-free TAFE places, as part of a new skills deal made with the Northern Territory and Federal Governments to develop the NT’s workforce.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) will receive hundreds of fee-free TAFE places, as part of a new skills deal made with the Northern Territory and Federal Governments to develop the NT’s workforce.

This investment provides immediate support for up to 1500 Fee-Free TAFE and Vocational Education and Training (VET) places, which will be offered in the hospitality and tourism, care sectors including aged care, agriculture, technology and digital, construction, sovereign capability, and other priority sectors including foundation skills.

The agreement will inject a further $9.4 million into the Territory’s skills and vocational education and training sector. The funding will primarily be delivered by Northern Territory public providers, including CDU.

The course list will see approximately 600 fee-free places in the care sector, 200 places in construction, 150 places in agriculture, 120 places in hospitality and tourism, 80 places in transport, logistics and manufacturing and a further 300 places for other critical sectors, including foundation skills.

The 12-month Skills Agreement is the first stage of delivering on the skills commitments in the Australian Government’s Made in Australia Skills Plan. It also confirms TAFE, public and private providers’ role in the VET sector, increasing opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups, while addressing critical skills gaps in the economy.

All governments have agreed to a vision and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.

Federal MP and Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said addressing workforce challenges specific to the Northern Territory was a priority. 

“The Australian Government recognises the urgency of the skills crisis facing the nation, and the challenges particular to the Northern Territory, which is why this Agreement is so important,” Minister O’Connor said.

“If we want to provide greater opportunity in the Northern Territory for secure and rewarding employment, we must be able to skill and reskill our workforce.

“Whether it’s a need to build our care sector, construction, hospitality and tourism, or technology and digital sectors, we need to deliver these skills at a time of acute skills shortages.

“I’m thrilled to make this joint investment to expand opportunities for all Northern Territorians."

CDU Director VET Strategy and Growth Michael Hamilton welcomed the announcement and said the places would provide lifechanging education and training opportunities.

“Access to Fee-Free TAFE will be a game-changer, which will give more Territorians access to training and new careers and will deliver the skilled workers our fastest-growing industries need to boost the Territory’s economy,” Mr Hamilton said.

“As the Territory’s largest vocational education and training provider, CDU is best placed to develop the Territory’s vocational education and training system and to ensure we have the workers we need to gain the skills and knowledge required to fill workforce gaps.

“The Northern Territory is facing skills shortages across a range of industries, the skills agreement will support the development of a skilled workforce to support Territory business and industries and secure our future.”

Minister for Business, Jobs and Training Paul Kirby said the fee-free places would be critical to address workforce shortages.

“We’re training record numbers of Territorians and this injection of cash will grow this number further,” Minister Kirby said.

“Skilling our future workforce is one of the highest priorities for this Government.

“Not only will it grow our economy, it gives our next generation the best chance to fulfil their potential and succeed.”

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