Revitalised Queensland Government program to boost workforce participation

Queensland Government media release

Industries facing workforce shortages and job seekers experiencing extended periods of unemployment will both benefit under the Palaszczuk Government’s revitalised Back to Work program, the Growing Workforce Participation Fund.

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said the fund enables new approaches for workforce attraction and retention.

“For the first time, Back to Work will engage with industries who are experiencing employment shortages to support innovative approaches to increasing participation from disadvantaged and vulnerable Queenslanders,” Minister Farmer said.

“Queensland’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level since February 2009 at 4.4 percent, and 124,300 more Queenslanders were employed in January 2022 compared to the beginning of the pandemic proof of Queensland’s ongoing economic recovery.

“An increase in labour force participation and job advertisement activity above pre-Covid rates is also a positive sign, but we need the right skills in the right jobs to benefit employers and strengthen our workforce.

“We also want to see secure, long-term employment particularly for vulnerable Queenslanders.

“Last week’s Queensland Workforce Summit highlighted that employers are seeking new avenues to bolster their workforce.

“This Fund will provide opportunities for industry groups to focus on their future and explore new ways attracting workers from new sources while also providing job seekers with new pathways and opportunities.

“The Funding Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are now available online so interested groups can consider and prepare their application before the round opens on 28 March 2022.

“Industry collaboration is key to creating long-term employment outcomes, particularly for vulnerable Queensland for our targeted groups.

“We are now inviting industry partners who can develop and lead pilots and innovative projects that support long term-employment outcomes to apply for the Growing Workforce Participation Fund.”

The Fund has a new focus on supporting Queenslanders in regional communities and the Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Scenic Rim and Somerset local government areas, who have experienced a minimum period of unemployment and identify with one of the following groups:

  • young person aged 15–24
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people with disability, or
  • long-term unemployed person.

Through the Growing Workforce Participation Fund, one-off grant funding of $20,000 up to $200,000 is available to industry groups who can trial new ways of job matching, create pre-employment pathways and develop innovative resources for job seekers and employers.

“We want to give businesses confidence to employ Queenslanders who have experienced a period of unemployment and help workers facing disadvantage in the labour market — we know that secure employment is key to boosting the confidence of Queenslanders too,” Minister Farmer said.

“Through this program, job seekers, employers and their employees will receive intensive support to create positive futures for everyone involved.”

Minister Farmer said that Back to Work was another initiative helping to boost Queensland’s economic recovery.

“As our economy continues to bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19 and the recent floods, the Palaszczuk Government’s top priority remains jobs for Queenslanders,” Minister Farmer said.

“Since the program was established in 2016, Back to Work has helped more than 27,100 Queenslanders find employment, develop skills and create career pathways, and provided $296 million in funding to over 12,700 employers.

“The new Growing Workforce Participation Fund is a great addition to the improved suite of support available under the revitalised Back to Work program.”

Applications are open now and will close on 9 May 2022. Information including the Funding Guidelines, FAQs and How to Apply is available on the Back to Work website.