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$30 million injection for NSW skills training

Friday, 06 April 2018
By Jake Nelson

John Barilaro, NSW Deputy Premier (left) meets with Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA.

The NSW Government will invest $30 million in a skills training initiative designed to benefit small to medium enterprises (SMEs). NSW businesses, including printers, with fewer than 200 staff members will be able to access free courses in financial and digital literacy.

Adam Marshall.

Adam Marshall, NSW minister responsible for TAFE, announced the Skills for Business program alongside John Barilaro, Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Skills and Small Business, on Thursday. “Skills for Business will offer NSW small to medium enterprises fully subsidised training in digital and financial literacy, cybersecurity and general business management by leveraging TAFE NSW’s strong industry connections and world-class teaching to access training anywhere, anytime and at a pace that suits them,” said Marshall.

Andrew Macaulay, CEO Printing Industries, met with Barilaro and with Megan Aitken, general manager for digital at TAFE NSW, and was pleased with the outcome for the print and packaging industries. “We are delighted that the Deputy Premier has identified that TAFE needs to be re-invigorated and focused towards SMEs. In NSW, the print and packaging sector employs just under 100,000 people, and a lot of these people are employed in regional Australia. It’s stable, skilled employment,” he said.

According to John Barilaro, there are 6,063 print and packaging businesses in NSW employing 80,800 people in both  capital cities and all regional centres. These businesses account for $4.8 billion in annual wages.
“Considering the size and scope of this important manufacturing sector, we look forward to seeing people in the industry take up this offer of free training, to skill up for the benefit of their businesses, their staff and the sector as a whole.
“It was pleasing to see Andrew Macaulay yesterday, and I’m grateful for the work PIAA is doing to spread the word about this important skills and small business initiative,” he said.

PIAA recently secured the support of the Tasmanian government for Victoria’s Holmesglen Institute of TAFE to provide print training in the state, and is pursuing the same arrangement for South Australia. “NSW is in a position to supply these services directly to the state, and the commitment of the Deputy Premier is an indication that this is the path he wants to take,” said Macaulay. “We intend to follow up these discussions and seek further action.”

SMEs, which represent 98 percent of NSW businesses, employ half the state’s workforce – about 1.56 million people – and pay $47 billion per year in wages and salaries. According to Barilaro, the sector is vital for the state’s economic future. “We need a workforce that will continue to underpin NSW as the nation’s leading economy, and the strongest workforce is one that’s continually learning, upskilling, and keeping up to date with new technologies,” he said. “Our economy is now the strongest in the nation, and as a government we want to be doing everything we can to support small business owners – the very people who take on great risks, to create job opportunities for others.”

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