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How JobTrainer can help you upskill or retrain for free

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The past year has been a rollercoaster (to put it mildly) for the jobs market.

For those who had jobs, there were plenty of big changes, whether it was working from home, reducing your hours, homeschooling kids while you worked, or even sadly losing your job.

And for those looking for a job, the conditions were—dare we say it—unprecedented. If you were a school leaver in 2020, you may have been planning for years for what you hoped to do once school finished, whether it was travelling for a gap year, going straight into a job or studying in a particular area, only to find those opportunities were no longer necessarily an option for you.

And if you’re a long-term job seeker, you may have found it was harder to even secure an interview, let alone a job. With constant job losses and unemployment figures on the rise, it meant there were more people than at any time in recent history, all in the market for a job.

The good news is, if you’re looking for a job and want a qualification to help get you one, you may be able to study for free thanks to JobTrainer.

The Australian Government and ACT Government signed a National Partnership Agreement in September last year to deliver JobTrainer, helping Canberrans access new skills so they can find employment in sectors with future job opportunities as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through JobTrainer, Canberrans access training in areas of identified skills needed here in the ACT, such as childcare, renewable energy and sustainability, digital and cyber security, fitness, allied health and hospitality—all for free

There is $16.8 million in funding for free training places in the ACT alone, with a mix of short courses and full qualifications available to study.

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is one of the registered training organisations delivering JobTrainer subsidised courses, and CIT CEO Leanne Cover said there has already been strong interest in the JobTrainer courses from students.

“JobTrainer is just a really fantastic new opportunity for Canberrans to think about how they can better position themselves with skills for jobs for now, and jobs for the future. It really removes some of those barriers that might have been there for people to study, like fees,” she said.

“I think particularly for women, because we all know that women have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. So what we’re seeing early with our enrolment numbers is that about 60% of our enrolments for the JobTrainer courses have been taken up already by women, which is great.”

Olivia, Matt and Ivonne Trina-Marie Onrust.

One of the first groups to go through CIT under JobTrainer was 10 students who completed the Introduction to Hospitality short course back in December 2020.

While it was one of the industries most impacted by COVID-19, hospitality is included in the JobTrainer list of in-demand skills, and senior CIT hospitality teacher Nicole Dixon said they’re already noticing an increased demand for qualified workers.

“Obviously last year did hit the industry hard with people losing jobs or going on JobKeeper, but we definitely can see a rebound now in our industry, especially in Canberra,” she said.

“Definitely in the last couple of weeks there’s a lot of job opportunities we’ve seen. We’ve had a lot of industry connections come to us, asking us for students looking for employment. So I think the industry is definitely rebounding.”

Out of the 10 students to complete the Introduction to Hospitality short course, eight are now being engaged by Australian Apprenticeships to move into an apprenticeship or traineeship, and Nicole said there are also opportunities to complete full qualifications.

Sam, Claudio and Team Captain Ivonne Narayan, Coco and Brad Team Captain. Credit: Chris Fernance.

“Under JobTrainer we do also have the Certificate III in Hospitality as well as the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, as well as the Certificate III in Tourism,” she said.

“And at CIT we also support our students to get work. We always get industry emailing us with job opportunities, as well as apprenticeships, we just had a couple of places yesterday looking for apprentices in the kitchen in commercial cookery. So you can already see that our industry is starting to rebound back which is great.”


What: JobTrainer offers free vocational education and training to eligible people in areas of employment growth.
Who: Places are limited. Priority is given to young people (17 to 24 years, who have finished school) and job seekers across Canberra.
More info: To check your eligibility and see the courses available to study, visit act.gov.au/jobtrainer


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