The vocational education and training sector has welcomed a new $1 billion JobTrainer program as it prepares to deal with a significant spike in demand for training.
The skills package will aim to provide 340,700 more training places, with about 5700 of those expected to be added in the ACT.
This will be jointly funded with $500 million from the federal government and $500 million from the state and territory governments.
In addition, the wage subsidy to help keep existing apprentices in work will be extended for six months with a further $1.5 billion investment.
Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia chief executive Troy Williams said the announcement was good news for independent providers, who supported about three quarters of ACT trainees.
"We know not only here in the territory but across the country there has been a stronger interest in vocational education and training programs, from those who are unemployed and looking for work or those who are about to finish high school," he said.
Under the JobTrainer program, courses will be free or low-cost in areas of need identified by the new National Skills Commission.
General manager of MEGT Apprentice Network Provider Paul Bennett said these courses were likely to be in construction, health, information and communication technology and logistics.
Mr Bennett also welcomed the new package as it would help provide career pathways for about 180,000 school leavers.
"JobTrainer is clearly to ensure there's a positive uptake [of training] instead of a massive bottleneck," he said.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union cautiously welcomed the package but national president Andrew Dettmer said it was important that the subsidies incentivised learning and completion, not just employment.
"Wage subsidies are important to support apprentices and trainees through this pandemic, but the government needs to reverse their cuts to TAFE and invest in education and training for the long term," Mr Dettmer said.
Mr Williams said the Morrison government had shown it was committed to the VET sector with a suite of reforms.
"We're seeing a series of reforms: The Joyce review into vocational education and training and the current Productivity Commission review, the establishment of the National Skills Commission, the establishment of the National Careers Institute," he said.
"This new funding shows the government has a really strong interest in vocational education and training but more importantly a coordinated plan which is something we haven't seen in a decade.
"So it's really good that several pieces of the puzzle are now coming together fortuitously when the country needs it most."
The scheme is expected to roll out from September.