Skills Fund to help reduce skills shortages Sat 13 October 2012 Nick McKim The Minister for Education and Skills, Nick McKim, said today that applications are being called from public and private registered training organisations for a major skills program to reduce skills shortages and increase productivity in Tasmania. Mr McKim said Tasmanian Government funding previously committed to the Productivity Placement Program (PPP), is supporting a new round of funded training places, to be known as the Skills Fund. "The Skills Fund continues and extends the success of PPP. It will better manage the Government's investment in skills to meet the needs of Tasmania in today's conditions," he said "The Skills Fund will allocate up to $8.6 million over the next three years and focuses on up-skilling Tasmanian workers and assisting job seekers to get the skills they need to join the workforce. "For 2013 the $8.6 million will fund:- 850 places for job seekers ($1.82 million). - 850 places for existing workers ($3.34 million)- Skill set funding of around $1.84 million- Projects and initiatives will be given $1.6 million "The Fund, which is managed by Skills Tasmania, gives priority to training that aligns with the State Government plans and strategies and regional or industry workforce planning. "The existing worker and jobseeker streams emphasise active and strong partnerships with industry and community organisations. "The project based initiatives will encourage training that tests new ideas and ways of working with employers and communities and responds to new and emerging demand." Mr McKim said that a new program "Mind the Gap" offers basic career support training to individuals who face significant barriers to employment. "The program includes partnerships with jobseeker or referral agencies, skill sets to provide individuals with bite-sized pieces of training and career pathway planning support," he said. Information sessions will be held in Hobart and Launceston later this month and tenders close 26 April 2013. Advertisements in the State's three daily newspapers will be published on Saturday 13 October 2012. For more information, contact Skills Tasmania on 03 6233 3976 or access the Skills Fund website www.skills.tas.gov.au/skillsfund.