NSW students that undertake “vocational training in technology-based growth industries” will be able to apply for $1000 government scholarships beginning in March this year.
The state minister for skills John Barilaro used a visit to Port Macquarie TAFE to officially launch the Jobs of Tomorrow scholarships.
The scholarships are to be made available to 25,000 students over the next four years. They provide eligible students with $500 at the commencement of their studies and $500 upon completing their qualification.
The state government will spend a total of $25 million on the scheme. It falls under a broader Jobs for NSW scheme that aims to create 150,000 new jobs in the state by March 2019.
The scholarship scheme was an election pledge by the Baird Government in the lead-up to the state election in NSW in March last year.
“Three quarters of the fastest growing occupations in Australia require skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – collectively known as STEM skills,” NSW Premier Mike Baird said at the time.
“Employers are demanding workers with high level STEM skills and we will invest $25 million to encourage more vocational education and training students to enrol in, and complete, courses in these areas to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.”
The government will in part rely on new industry partnerships to help connect STEM students to relevant work and networking opportunities during their training, “while helping people already working in these fields enrol for additional STEM studies.”
“The addition of this industry partnership program means employers will be able to support students during training – through networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities and work experience,” Barilaro said.
Current industry partners include the NSW Business Chamber, the Association of Consulting Surveyors, the Australian Computer Society Foundation and the Australian Industry Group.
ACS Foundation executive director John Ridge AM welcomed the opportunity to work with government on implementing the program.
Ridge said the ACS Foundation will provide industry mentoring and career advice, access to industry networking opportunities, professional development and exposure to the Australian Computer Society.
"One of the traditional roles of the Foundation has been trying to assist students make the transition from their studies into the industry," Ridge told Information Age.
"I see this our participation in the Jobs of Tomorrow program as very much an extension of the Foundation's role.
"So part of our role will be to help facilitate those students in that sector to meet and network, with people and organisations in that industry to better assist them hopefully to get employment hats relevant to what theyre studying.
"We will also be actively working to raise greater awareness of the scholarships as well as the career opportunities and benefits of upgrading their qualifications."
Almost 70 qualifications at Certificate IV and above are eligible for the scholarships, including in areas such as manufacturing, engineering, information technology, health and electrotechnology.
Applications will open via the NSW Department of Primary Industry.