Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program: Boosting Skills and Capabilities.
Updated: Jun 28
The Australian Government Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program provides businesses in the defence sector with valuable opportunities for upskilling and training. With the aim of building skills capacity and capability to meet current and future Defence needs, this program offers funding support to enhance the workforce capabilities of businesses servicing the defence industry.
The Australian Government has committed a total of up to $59.3 million over six years, spanning from 2020-21 to 2025-26, with an additional $20.3 million allocated in the 2022-23 Budget. Of this funding, approximately $10 million has been specifically earmarked to support Naval shipbuilding-related skills training.
Under the Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program, eligible businesses can receive grant funding covering up to 100% of eligible project expenditures. The grant amount ranges from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $500,000. Businesses have the flexibility to apply for multiple grants or consolidate multiple eligible activities within a single application.
The program's objectives are multifaceted, with a focus on reducing barriers faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the defence sector when upskilling or retraining their staff. The program also aims to develop skills within SMEs, support the establishment of human resources practices and training plans that foster lifelong learning activities, and ultimately enhance workforce development, training, and retention practices.
"We understand the importance of a skilled workforce in the defence industry. The Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program will empower SMEs in the defence sector by equipping them with the necessary tools and resources to bridge skills gaps, attract and retain talented staff, and meet the ever-evolving demands of our defence capabilities," said a government representative.
The program's intended outcomes include improved human resources practices that support workforce development, training, and retention. Additionally, SME staff will receive training in areas where skills gaps have been identified, strengthening the ability of SMEs to attract, develop, and retain appropriately skilled personnel. Furthermore, the program will contribute to increased short and long-term workforce capability and capacity within defence sector SMEs, ultimately resulting in a highly skilled workforce capable of meeting both current and future defence capability needs.
Interested businesses in the defence sector are encouraged to apply for the Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program and take advantage of this unique opportunity to enhance their skills and capabilities.
Open - Applicants can apply under the new guidelines from Thursday 7 April 2022.
What do you get?
The grant amount will be up to 100 per cent of eligible project expenditure (grant percentage). A grant between $5,000 and $500,000 to undertake various defence skills training activities.
You may apply for multiple grants or group multiple eligible activities into one application.
The funding is capped at $500,000 in a six-year period from 2020–21 to 2025–26 for:
each eligible business; and
each industry association that is applying for funding to train their own staff.
Who is this for?
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that currently have a Defence contract, are tendering for one, are a subcontractor to a defence prime or are contracted through the Prime's supply chain to deliver on defence projects.
Defence Industry Associations training their own staff or facilitating training to businesses they are representing.
Defence Industry Associations applying for funding for eligible activities for the eligible businesses they are representing.
The Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry Grants Program will provide grants to businesses over three years to help develop defence sector skills and human resources practices and training plans.
The program aims to:
reduce barriers faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the defence sector when upskilling or retraining staff
develop skills within SMEs in the defence sector
support SMEs in the defence sector to establish human resources practices and training plans that will build lifelong learning activities into their business
What are the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible you must:
have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
be non-income tax exempt (unless you are a defence industry association training your own staff or facilitating training to businesses you are representing).
and be one of the following entities:
an entity, incorporated in Australia
an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust.
We can only accept applications from:
SMEs with less than 200 employees that currently service, or intend to service, the defence industry sector and meet one of the following requirements:
have a current Defence contract
be currently tendering or preparing to tender for a Defence contract
be a current subcontractor to a Defence prime or contracted through the Prime's supply chain to deliver on Defence projects.
Defence industry associations applying:
for training their own staff; or
to facilitate eligible activities for businesses they are representing:
where the represented business fulfils the eligibility criteria;
the represented business provides consent for the application; and
the value of the project apportioned to the business does not exceed the represented business’s funding cap available to the business under the SADI program.
To be eligible your project must:
be aimed at increasing Defence related skills capacity or capability within your organisation or within a group of defence industry businesses represented by an industry association, that is required to meet current or future Defence capability needs; and
be delivered by a registered training organisation (RTO), a tertiary education provider (University or TAFE), an experienced training provider, a professional or industry association, an appropriately qualified employee in your business or an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
Eligible activities include:
technical and trade skills training, for example, design, engineering, project/program management, logistics, understanding Commonwealth Government processes, such as procurement services and Defence operations, support services (including information technology and cyber security)
human resources training and skills development practices with a focus on building lifelong learning including cultural change, change management, human resource strategies/systems, employee training and development facilitation and workforce planning
micro credentials courses, which may not yet be part of a training package or accredited course but are required to meet defence capability requirements. This can include different combinations of training modules to form new skill sets and training tailored to meet specific business needs
apprenticeship supervision support to provide supervision, by an appropriately qualified employee in your business, to an apprentice who primarily spends their time on Defence projects according to the following scale per applicant, funding caps may apply:
· Year 1 - $4,000 per semester towards the costs of supervision
· Year 2 - $3,000 per semester towards the costs of supervision
· Year 3 - $2,000 per semester towards the costs of supervision
· Year 4 - $1,000 per semester towards the costs of supervision.
on-the-job training supervision support where the supervisor providing the training is an appropriately qualified employee in your business, is purely technical in nature and directly supports Defence projects. Support may be funded at an hourly rate of $80.00 (funding caps may apply) and you must demonstrate that the training:
· is being supervised by a suitably qualified employee in your business
· is of a purely technical nature (e.g. machine use)
· is directly in support of a Defence contract or contracts
· the level of competency attained can be verified
· the trainee is not an apprentice
· the training activity is not classroom based
· log books (for the training and hours of supervision) can be provided if required by the Commonwealth.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) training where the training is not incorporated in the products purchase price for a maximum of three staff (you must provide evidence). You must supply, at the time of application submission:
· a training plan/syllabus
· an itemised quote for the proposed training
· correspondence from the OEM that clearly states that the training costs were not incorporated in the product purchase price; and if applying for training to be undertaken overseas, correspondence from the OEM that clearly states that the training is not available in Australia.
You can only spend grant funds on eligible expenditure you have incurred on an agreed project as defined in your grant agreement.
Eligible expenditure items are:
staff training costs and on-the-job training fees including TAFE, University, online training courses, training instructors (internal and external) and OEM training
costs incurred in conducting training activities including training materials, text books, external venue hire and audio visual equipment hire
domestic travel limited to the reasonable cost of accommodation and transportation required to conduct agreed project activities in Australia
overseas travel limited to the reasonable cost of accommodation and transportation to receive approved training where a comparable alternative is not available in Australia
Human Resources skills training to directly improve the staff retention capability of the business and encourage staff in continuous learning
Where an internal instructor conducts your training you may claim the costs/wages on a cost-recovery charge-out basis for the duration of the training. The instructor must be qualified to deliver the training. You will be required to provide evidence of the hourly wage of the qualified instructor (together with a copy of the instructor’s qualification documentation), and a detailed course outline, for invoicing and reporting purposes. Commercial charge out rates cannot be used for instructors who are employees.
Eligible air transportation is limited to the economy class fare for each sector travelled; where non-economy class air transport is used, only the equivalent of an economy fare for that sector is eligible expenditure. Where non-economy class air transport is used, the grantee will require evidence showing the cost of an economy airfare at the time of travel. Accommodation is capped at $200 per night (GST exclusive).
Haines Consulting Group is a management consultancy firm specialising in business strategy, growth, government grants and new venture developments. If you need any assistance with a grant submission please contact us now for a confidential conversation.