Victorian budget supports employment opportunities for young people

The Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) Victoria has welcomed the Victorian Government’s focus on getting young people into secure, skilled work through apprenticeships and traineeships. 

Gary Workman, Executive Director of the AEN said, “The AEN has partnered with the Victorian Government over many years to deliver better employment outcomes for young people. We know that meaningful work and social engagement leads to better mental health and future opportunities for personal growth.” 

“Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney’s announcement of $85.9m to set up the new Victorian Skills Authority is a nod to the recommendations made in the 2020 Macklin Review, which acknowledges that a strong apprenticeship and VET system is key to Victoria’s economic recovery.” 

The youth unemployment rate in Victoria is currently around 15%, more than double the overall rate. 

“Young people have been disproportionately affected by the sharp economic downturn experienced during the pandemic and Victorians have been the hardest-hit by lockdowns. Apprenticeships and traineeships are a fantastic way for young people to kickstart their careers and gain new skills as students and employees,” Mr Workman said. 

According to the Youth Affairs Council Victoria, 55% of 18 to 24-year-olds expressed concern about employment and income in 2020. 

“We know that young people are looking for extra support to continue learning and earning. Our group training organisations, or GTOs, provide individual mentorship to apprentices throughout their training and employment, significantly increasing the likelihood that apprentices will finish their qualification and become skilled workers,” Mr Workman said. 

Mr Workman said, “The AEN believes that the good employment opportunities and personal guidance our GTOs provide to apprentices play a vital role in equipping our young people to remain engaged and contributing in our communities. These are very practical ways we can contribute to the improvement of youth mental health.” 

In its recent report ‘What VET can offer to COVID-19 youth unemployment recovery’ the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) stated that “work-based training achieves the best lasting employment outcomes.” 

With the support of the Victorian Government, the AEN is continuing the delivery of the Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program to get young people back into work. The RATP is a dedicated service for apprentices who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Out of work apprentices and trainees can sign up at to be assigned a dedicated field officer who will provide ongoing, individual assistance to secure a work placement, navigate HR requirements and offer guidance throughout the employment and training journey. 



Continued support for group training organisations including the Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program (ongoing) 

  • Partnering with AEN to get out of work apprentices back into a trade 

Big Build Victoria (ongoing) 

  • Partnering with group training organisations (GTOs) to get more apprentices on worksites 
  • Allocating 10% of labour hours to apprentices and trainees 

Victorian Skills Authority (2021/22) 

  • $85.9m allocated to deliver the 2020 Macklin Review recommendations 

Subsidised VET to eligible students (2021/22) 

  • $88.8m to make vocational education and training more accessible to Victorians 

Placing VET students in practical work environments (2021/22) 

  • $14.9 million for placement officers to better coordinate mandatory practical placements for TAFE students 

State-of-the-art equipment for practical learning (2021/22)  

  • $12 million for tools and equipment in TAFEs to improve training for apprentices and trainees 

Cutting costs for students 

  • $99.2 million for students who undertake study in priority areas with a TAFE or other registered training provider 

Opportunities for Aboriginal students 

  • $2.7 million for Victorian Aboriginal students to undertake Certificate II and III in Learning an Australian First Nations Language at TAFE, for free, through Marrung: Preserving Aboriginal languages 

The Victorian Government has said that the new Victorian Skills Authoritywill work with industry – including employers and unions – as well as providers and other stakeholders to: 

  • better plan for the future training needs of Victoria’s economy 
  • provide training strategies to support skills demand and supply for local and state-wide industries 
  • provide an integrated approach to the quality of teaching and training 
  • drive collaborative innovation across the VET sector. 

Establishing the new Authority in direct response to the recommendations from the Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy review.


The Authority will not replace, but bring together existing entities and functions, including the Victorian Skills Commissioner, Skills and Job Centres functions, and VET Development Centre functions. 

The Authority will provide robust, evidence-informed advice to government including through the annual Victorian Skills Plan. 

About the Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) Victoria 

The Group Training Association of Victoria trading as Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) is the peak industry body representing not for profit group training companies across Victoria and is part of a national network of group training associations.   

This national network of group training organisations employs over 24,000 apprentices and trainees, Australia’s largest employer of apprentices and trainees.  

Within Victoria AEN through our members, employs over 6,000 apprentices and trainees across all industry sectors, which is supported by a network of 10,000+ host employers – small to medium size businesses.   

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