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Empowering First Nations Australians with Enhanced Skills: Albanese Government’s Initiatives

Empowering First Nations Australians with Enhanced Skills: Albanese Government's Initiatives

The Albanese government is taking significant steps to bridge the education and skills gap for First Nations Australians by removing barriers to learning and training opportunities.

In an exciting development, Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor has unveiled a dedicated Indigenous stream within the government’s Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) foundation skills program. This initiative aims to enhance literacy, numeracy, and digital skills for First Nations Australians.

Empowering First Nations Australians

Statistics reveal that approximately 1 in 5 Australian adults lack fundamental literacy, numeracy, and digital skills required to secure better job prospects and participate fully in society. The situation is even more challenging for First Nations people, with an estimated 40% of adults having minimal English literacy. In remote communities, like those in the Northern Territory, this figure can soar as high as 70%.

To tackle this issue head-on, the government is investing a substantial $436 million over four years to revamp the delivery of foundation skills programs. The goal is to equip Australians with essential literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy skills crucial for success.

The redesigned SEE program will pave the way for more accessible training pathways, enabling individuals to improve their language, literacy, numeracy, and digital skills. By 2026-27, the program is projected to support up to 2,000 First Nations Australians annually.

Focused Streams for Better Impact

Starting from 1 July 2024, the initial foundation skills stream will target job seekers, employees, and those currently not in formal education, employment, or training. A second stream will concentrate solely on empowering First Nations Australians. In this stream, grants will be provided to First Nations community-controlled organisations, fostering direct partnerships with training providers.

This crucial step is the result of extensive consultation with Indigenous representatives through the Foundation Skills Advisory Group, demonstrating the Albanese government’s commitment to work hand-in-hand with First Nations Australians in policymaking.

Amidst the ongoing redesign process, the government has taken a proactive step by extending the Foundation Skills for Your Future: Remote Community Pilots program for an additional 12 months, up to 30 June 2024.

Empowering First Nations Australians: Promoting Progress

Australia takes a meaningful stride towards a fairer and more equitable society by continuing to invest in programs to enhance basic skills among Indigenous people. The Australian government’s recent investment in literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy skills for Indigenous communities represents a significant leap forward. These crucial initiatives are poised to positively impact the lives of thousands, playing a vital role in bridging the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

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