VET Knowledge Bank

Policy initiatives > COVID-19 announcements

This page was originally created to list the work-in-progress entries of new or enhanced initiatives announced in 2020 for the Timeline of Australian VET policy initiatives 1998-2020With the timeline now updated, the page has been refreshed to showcase the Australian, state and territory government policy responses that were announced to help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian economy.

The Government announced a $17.6 billion economic plan on 12 March 2020, followed by the announcement of a second stage on 22 March 2020. As the 2020-21 budget which was scheduled to be released in May was deferred to 6 October, the treasurer released the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update on 23 July, and Economic Recovery Plan for Australia: COVID-19 response: supporting Australians through the crisis fact sheet was released as supplementary material to the budget.

Apprentice and Trainee Re-engagement Register

The Apprentice and Trainee Re-engagement Register aims to connect apprentices and trainees who have lost their jobs with potential employers. The register is open to:

  • apprentices and trainees from small businesses who were in a training contract at 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020 and have since lost their jobs
  • apprentices and trainees from medium businesses who were in a training contract at 1 July 2020 and have since lost their jobs
  • employers of any size, including group training organisations, who wish to register their details and post a vacancy for an apprentice or trainee.

The register is being coordinated by the National Apprentice Employment Network (NAEN). The initiative is part of the Australian Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy is aimed at supporting employers and group training organisations (GTOs) to take on new apprentices and trainees to build a pipeline of skilled workers to support sustained economic recovery. Under the initiative, a subsidy of 50 per cent of wages paid to an apprentice between 5 October 2020 and 30 September 2021, to a maximum of $7000 per quarter, may be available to businesses or GTOs that engage an Australian Apprentice on or after 5 October 2020. For an employer to be eligible, the Australian Apprentice must be undertaking a Certificate II or higher qualification.

From 28 October 2020, a 30 worker limit applies for employers who seek to convert an existing casual or part-time worker who is not an apprentice to an Australian Apprenticeship or traineeship, with no limits for signing up to a trades-based Australian Apprenticeship. The subsidy was initially capped at 100 000 places.

The initiative was announced in the 2020-21 federal budget (p. 77) with $1.2 billion allocated over four years from 2020-21. It builds on the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update COVID-19 response package Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (p. 119) and is funded under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP).

As the program was fully subscribed, the Australian Government announced on 9 March 2021 that the program would become demand-driven and expanded for a full 12 months for new apprentices and trainees signed up before 21 September 2021. It is estimated the expansion will generate an additional 70 000 places with the government investing around $1.2 billion.

Career Transition Assistance program - extended to 30 June 2022

The Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program is part of the Australian Government's Mature Age Employment package announced in the 2017–18 federal budget. It aims to help mature age job seekers, who are aged 50 years and older and registered with a jobactive provider, to gain the contemporary skills they need to become more competitive in their local labour market and move into ongoing employment.

The CTA Trial program commenced in July 2018 in five regions - Ballarat (VIC), Somerset (QLD), Central West (NSW), Adelaide South (SA), and Perth North (WA) - and became available nationally from 1 July 2019.

In April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced an additional $41.7 million, available from May 2020 to 30 June 2022 to enable jobactive providers to more readily refer mature age job seekers into the program.

Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians

The Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians provides scholarships to successful applicants of up to $5000 per year for up to two years of study to undertake vocational educational and training (VET) in one of 10 select regions. Scholarships target occupations identified in projected growth industries and in-demand occupations within each region. Successful applicants can also receive up to an additional $3,000 for completing a 20 day paid internship. Host Employers can receive $1,500 per intern hosted. The 10 regional areas where the scholarships are available are: Grafton and Gosford (New South Wales); Alice Springs (Northern Territory); Maryborough and Townsville (Queensland); Port Pirie (South Australia); Burnie (Tasmania); Shepparton (Victoria); and Wanneroo and Armadale (Western Australia).

The scholarships are available to applicants who: are aged up to 24 years or exited from the Australian Defence Force in the last two years; are not in full-time work at the time of applying; are living in one of the 10 nominated regional areas; and intend to commence an eligible VET qualification at the Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level, which leads to an occupation in demand.

This initiative is part of the Australian Government's Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package which is aimed at strengthening the vocational education and training sector in response to recommendations made in the Joyce review.

The July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update (p.120) increased the host incentive from $500 to $1500 per intern hosted to encourage intake of interns.

Enhanced Support for School Leavers Measure

To support young people as they prepare to leave school in a changed labour market following COVID-19, the online School Leavers Information Kit and the School Leavers Information Service (1800 CAREER) provide tailored careers information to help young people understand their education, training and work pathways.

Both initiatives are funded through the Australian Government’s Enhanced Support for School Leavers measure and are being delivered by the National Careers Institute (NCI) from 1 October 2020 to 30 June 2022.

The launch of the measure was announced 8 October 2020.

Foundation Skills for Your Future Program - expanded scope

The Foundation Skills for Your Future initiative is a $52.5 million (over four years to 30 June 2024) new national program to support eligible individuals develop their language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) skills to help them undertake further education and training, remain in employment or change jobs. The Program provides flexible training options for eligible participants, aimed at up to Certificate II level, to support participant's LLND skills learning needs. Employers or industry organisations seeking to develop the skills of their workforce to meet current and future skills needs can engage with approved Service Providers to develop tailored accredited and/or non-accredited training for their workplace.

To be eligible, participants must: be an Australian citizen or permanent resident; aged 15 years and over; have left secondary school education; and be employed OR recently unemployed (within the past nine months) and not be registered with an Australian Government employment service provider.

This initiative is part of the Australian Government's Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package which is aimed at strengthening the vocational education and training sector in response to recommendations made in the Joyce review.

The July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update (p. 119) expanded the scope of the Foundation Skills for your Future Program to enable the development and delivery of online language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) teaching resources

Foundation Skills For Your Future Remote Community Pilots - extended to 30 June 2023

The Foundation Skills for Your Future Remote Community Pilots aim to help Australians with language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy (LLND) skill needs in remote communities. Funding for the program was announced in the 2019–20 budget, with an allocation of $9.9 million over three years, from 2020 to 30 June 2023. The pilots aim to: improve the LLND skills of community members in the remote communities; identify and develop systemic approaches to LLND skills training delivery in remote communities; and inform future program delivery, new funding arrangements and/or changes to existing programs such as the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program. Indigenous service providers will deliver four pilot programs, one each in Northern Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. To be eligible, participants must: be aged 15 years and over; have left secondary school education; and live in the community.

This initiative is part of the Australian Government's Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package which is aimed at strengthening the vocational education and training sector in response to recommendations made in the Joyce review.

The July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update (p. 119) extended the termination date of the Foundation Skills for Your Future Remote Community Pilot by 12 months to 30 June 2023 to support adult LLND training in remote communities.

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption

Starting from 2 October 2020, a Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption is provided for employer-provided retraining and reskilling, for employees who are redeployed to a different role in the business. Prior to this, FBT was payable if an employer provides training to its employees that is not sufficiently connected to their current employment. The exemption does not extend to retraining acquired by way of a salary packaging arrangement or training provided through Commonwealth supported places at universities, which already receive a benefit.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Australian Government together with all state and territory Governments established the $80 million Infection Control Training Fund, with the states and territories matching the $40 million Commonwealth funding. The fund is aimed at fast-tracking fee-free (or low-fee) infection control training for workers in customer-facing businesses to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and support these businesses to re-open safely. At least 80 000 training places are targeted at workers across industries including retail, food handling, and transport and logistics. Additional training is also available to increase infection control skill levels in health sectors such as aged and disability care.

Five national infection control skill sets, which now cover the whole economy, were endorsed by the COAG Skills Council. Infection control skill sets were the first national training products developed by the Australian Industry Skills Emergency Response Sub-Committee in response to COVID-19.

JobTrainer

The $1 billion JobTrainer Fund, jointly established by the Australian Government in partnership with states and territories through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, is aimed at helping school leavers and job seekers gain new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities. The program is expected to provide up to 340 700 additional training places in areas of identified skill needs. School leavers and job seekers are able to access free or low cost short and long courses to develop new skills. Public, not-for-profit and private training organisations can apply for funding to provide these courses.

The JobTrainer Fund was announced on 16th July 2020 as part of the JobTrainer skills package. The JobTrainer skills package has two components:

  1. $1.5 billion to expand and extend the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees initiative
  2. $500 million investment in the JobTrainer Fund, with matched contribution sought from state and territory governments.

Local Jobs Program

The $62.8 million Local Jobs Program, announced on 1 September 2020, is part of supporting Australia's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which will run to 30 June 2022 in 25 regions across Australia, will provide for: 25 Employment Facilitators in the 25 regions; a Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce in each of these regions; a Local Jobs Plan developed for each of these regions; and projects funded through a Local Recovery Fund in each of these regions. The Program aims to support tailored approaches to accelerate reskilling, upskilling and employment across Australia.

My Skills website - updated to enable online training search

A repurposed My Skills website tailored to offer more ways for Australians to improve their qualifications online was launched on 15 April 2020. My Skills is the national directory of vocational education and training (VET) organisations and courses. It enables consumers to search for, and compare, VET courses and training providers.

New Undergraduate Certificate added to the AQF

On 14 May 2020, the Australian Government announced it will provide $7 million to subsidise 1015 places in 58 new short online courses covering teaching, agriculture, health, science, engineering, clinical psychology, information technology (IT) and languages. Study can take place at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 5 (Diploma) to 9 (Masters Degree). The online courses are offered for six months from May 2020 by 18 universities and TAFE higher education providers at a cost to students ranging from $1250 to $2500. Eligible students can defer payment through HECS-HELP.

The short courses are aimed at supporting Australians who have lost their jobs or are looking to upskill or retrain in national priority areas. Students who complete an online short course will be awarded either an Undergraduate Certificate or a Graduate Certificate depending on the level of their studies. The Undergraduate Certificate is a new qualification that has been added to the AQF to ensure that people who complete short courses at undergraduate levels of study receive a formally recognised qualification. The Undergraduate Certificate has been developed in response to community and industry need resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional Employment Trials - extended to 30 June 2021

The Regional Employment Trials (RET) program was introduced in 10 disadvantaged (in terms of employment opportunities and growth) regions to address employment issues. The program provides grants of between $7500 to $200 000 for employment-related projects such as: pre-apprenticeship placement programs; mentoring programs for job seekers; skilling job seekers for employment in up-coming infrastructure projects; and work experience projects targeting local employment opportunities. The program began on 1 October 2018 and was due to finish on 30 June 2020.

On 26 June 2020, the government announced the extension of the program for a further 12 months to allow existing projects affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to be completed.

Support for international students

The following changes to student visa arrangements were announced in July 2020: the Government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia so that when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel; international students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19; student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa; graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19; and additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.

International students contribute $40 billion annually and support 250 000 jobs. These changes are aimed at ensuring students are not worse off due to COVID-19 and that Australia remains competitive with other countries.

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) wage subsidy provides financial support to small and medium-sized businesses to retain their existing apprentices and trainees. The wage subsidy is also available to new employers of any size and Group Training Organisations (GTO) if they re-engage an apprentice or trainee who has been displaced from a small or medium-sized business. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the eligible apprentice or trainee's wages paid until 31 March 2021.

The SAT wage subsidy is part of the Australian Government's economic response to COVID-19. It was announced on 12 March 2020 to support businesses to keep apprentices and trainees employed. The $1.3 billion initiative was initially expected to support up to 70 000 small businesses employing around 117 000 apprentices and trainees and was only available to small businesses, including those using a group training organisation (GTO), with apprentices or trainees in-training as at 1 March 2020. Financial support was to cover wages paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Employers of any size who re-engaged an apprentice or trainee who has been displaced from a small business could also apply for a wage subsidy.

On 16 July 2020, the Government announced an expansion and extension of the initiative:

  • the SAT wage subsidy was extended for an additional six months to 31 March 2020
  • the SAT wage subsidy was expanded to include medium-sized businesses for wages paid to eligible apprentices or trainees from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.

The initiative is now expected to support up to 90 000 businesses employing around 180 000 apprentices and trainees.

Training for aged care nurses

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, $10.8 million in funding over five years was allocated in the 2020-21 budget (p. 95) to enhance the skills and competences of enrolled and registered nurses working in aged care. Initiatives include:

  • Australian College of Nursing Scholarship Program: in March 2020, funding of up to $1 million for the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) to provide an online refresher course with up-to-date information about acute nursing care, including latest evidence based guidelines on COVID-19 infection control was announced. The course was available to up to 1000 eligible registered nurses who held current general registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and who met the recency of Practice Registration Standard of 450 hours practice within the last five years
  • establishment of an Aged Care Transition to Practice Program: the program aims to assist nurses new to working in aged care by providing the support needed to develop their knowledge, skills and competence in the delivery of quality aged care services
  • establishment of a skills development program for nurses and personal care workers in aged care.

The New South Wales (NSW) COVID-19 recovery plan was released in July 2020. The Premier outlined the Government’s six step plan in a CEDA event keynote address.

Fee-free TAFE courses

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW Government, through TAFE NSW, is offering a number of fee-free short courses that can be completed in just days or weeks, offering practical skills and experiences across a range of industries. To be eligible for a fully-subsidised place, individuals must: live or work in NSW; be an Australian citizen or permanent resident or New Zealand citizen or humanitarian visa holder; be over 17 years (people between 15-17 years may be eligible); and have left school or are registered for home schooling.

An initial suite of 21 online courses was announced on 6 April 2020; on 30 April, 13 new free-free courses were added to replace those that had reached capacity to ensure the availability of a total of 21 accredited courses. Around 85 000 individuals had enrolled in the fee-free courses in the first three weeks, of which more than 33 000 were studying at TAFE NSW for the first time, and there were over 100,000 enrolments by 28 May 2020.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSW and Australian Governments have committed a combined $25.5 million to fund fee-free nationally accredited infection prevention and control training. Training is delivered by Smart and Skilled providers and available to participants who are: an Australian citizen, permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen; aged 15 years or older; live or work in NSW; and have left school (or are in school and have a part-time job).

JobTrainer - Skilling for Recovery

The NSW Government launched its $318.56 million JobTrainer Agreement/Skilling for Recovery initiative on 16 September 2020. The NSW package comprises $159.28 million from the Australian Government, matched dollar-for-dollar by the State Government.

The JobTrainer package is expected to fund approximately 108 000 free or low-fee training places in NSW, with a combination of short and long courses for job seekers and young people, including school leavers.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Summer Skills program

Summer Skills, funded under the NSW JobTrainer package, offers 2020 Year 12 school leavers the opportunity to explore career interests, upskill and prepare for post-secondary education training and employment through short-term, fee-free training courses in areas such as construction, coding, business, horticulture, social media and mental health. Fee-free training is available over the 2020-21 summer and across 2021.

Support for international students

On 15 May 2020, the NSW Government announced it would fund temporary crisis accommodation for vulnerable international students during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a $20 million support package. Accommodation will be available for an initial term of up to 12 weeks with potential to extend the accommodation to up to 20 weeks, subject to available funding. Applications for the Scheme opened on 1 June 2020. The package also provides increased support via the International Legal Service NSW and a new 24/7 international student support service, through the NSW Government COVID-19 hotline.

The Victorian Government announced the Economic survival package to support businesses and jobs on 21 March 2020. While several states have declared short lockdowns and restrictions to contain outbreaks, the second coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne ended after 111 days on 26 October 2020. The Jobs Plan: our plan for Victorian jobs and Victorian workers was released with the Victorian 2020-21 budget on 24 November 2020.

Agriculture Workforce Plan

The $50 million Agriculture Workforce Plan provides dedicated support for Victoria's agriculture, food processing and critical food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan Victoria. It assists with recruitment and financial support for: worker relocation and transport (worker accommodation and travel-to-work transport); worker induction and re-training; and business adaptation.

The Agriculture Workforce Plan is part of the $500 million Working for Victoria initiative launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The elements of the plan have been incorporated into The Big Victoria Harvest initiative, which was announced on 30 November 2020.

COVID-19 support package for training providers

The Victorian Government announced a $260.8 million support package on 17 April 2020 to ensure Victoria's TAFE and training system is ready and able to continue to train Victorians in priority industries. The package comprises:

  • $191.9 million for TAFEs, dual-sector TAFEs, Learn Local providers and AMES Australia in grants to support business continuity until 30 June 2020
  • $68.9m over three months in crisis support to ensure Victoria's public training system can respond and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

An additional funding of $55 million was announced 13 September 2020 to help TAFEs address maintenance needs through the TAFE Asset Maintenance Fund.

Infection Control Training Fund and skills sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Free short, accredited training courses (skill sets) are offered by Victorian TAFEs and registered training organisations (RTOs) to help upskill workers to administer and implement infection control policies and procedures within workplaces. The courses are available to employers and employees in businesses where COVID-safe practices are vital, with a focus on six priority sectors that represent 50 per cent of the Victorian economy: retail trade; accommodation and food; transport, including postal and warehousing); construction; manufacturing and health care and social assistance.

International Student Emergency Relief Fund

The Victorian Government announced a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) on 29 April 2020 to provide financial assistance to students who have lost wages and/or work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund, which is being delivered in partnership with tertiary education providers, will be delivered in two streams:

  1. eligible international students studying at a university or TAFE are required to apply to their institution directly for payments of up to $1100
  2. eligible students enrolled with a private education provider or college must apply through the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

The funding was available until 31 December 2020. Students still experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for emergency financial assistance through the Victorian Government’s Extreme Hardship Support Program, which is administered on their behalf by the Australian Red Cross.

JobTrainer

The $260 million Victorian JobTrainer package provides free or low-fee training in key industries and occupations such as health, construction, agriculture, community services, food processing, financial services, logistics and beauty services. Funding is available to young people aged between 17 to 24 years and job seekers of any age. JobTrainer supports Victoria's Skill First program that subsidises training and tuition-free training at TAFEs.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program

The Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program was established by the Victorian Government in collaboration with the Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, which commenced in May 2020, builds on the Apprenticeship Support Officers program and aims to assist apprentices and trainees who have lost their employment complete their training. Employers can also use to the program to register apprenticeship and traineeship vacancies, making the process of matching them with displaced trainees and apprentices easier.

In September 2020, an additional $900 000 was invested in the Program to fully fund it operate till June 2021. This money is part of the $163 million package of investments to boost skills, create jobs and drive the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic announced in July.

Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program

The Skills First Reconnect program supports learners that may experience a barrier to learning and transitioning to the workforce. Under the program, selected TAFEs and Learn Local registered training organisations (RTOs) receive funding to address barriers to enrolling in and completing an accredited training program and a supervised work experience placement and provide access to specialist support services such as health, accommodation, and personal and relationship supports.

The Victorian government announced $47 million on 9 October 2020 to extend the program for a further four years and expand it to support more people looking to re-enter the workforce or connecting them with further education opportunities. The expansion offers additional assistance to those whose jobs have been affected by either the pandemic or bushfires.

From 2021, the program has been renamed Reconnect.

Working for Victoria

The $500 million Working for Victoria initiative was announced on 21 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, which is being delivered in partnership with Sidekicker, supports: jobseekers to find work; jobseekers to access online training; and employers to find workers fast, with the skills and experience they need. To be eligible, jobseekers must have Australian working rights.

The initiative also includes a $50 million Agriculture Workforce Plan to provide dedicated support for the agriculture, food processing and critical food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan Victoria. It assists with recruitment and financial support for: worker relocation and transport (worker accommodation and travel-to-work transport); worker induction and re-training; and business adaptation.

Working for Victoria is part of the Victorian Government's $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package.

The Queensland (Qld) economic recovery strategy and stage one initiatives were announced in May 2020. Subsequent stages were introduced in the subsequent months, and the Unite and recover for Queensland jobs economic recovery plan was released in September 2020.

Free online training

The Qld Government is supporting a number of online training courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through:

  • TAFE Queensland's Isolearn: COVID Safe training modules for businesses such as hospitality industry, and beauty, nail, tanning, spas and tattooing sector that are required to have a COVID Safe plan; infection control skill sets for eligible employees in customer-facing roles in food handling, retail, and transport and logistics; micro-credentials (short, highly targeted free courses designed to improve a specific skill); and skill sets to build on existing skills ore retrain in new areas for eligible Qld residents impacted by COVID-19.
  • CQ University: eligible Queenslanders can enrol in free online skill sets in community care, health support, medication assistance, mentoring and supervision and food services. Courses had monthly intakes until November 2020.
  • Skills Focus Queensland training hub: small business impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can access a free online library of courses tailored to small business, including: Foundation business skills; Leading a successful business; Connecting businesses and customers; and Adaption and digital skills. The online training is being provided through GO1 and its online learning platform, in partnership with the Qld Government.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund provides nationally accredited infection control short course training places to frontline workers.

Infection control skill sets are available with restricted eligibility and at no cost to existing employees. They are targeted to customer-facing employees (including business owners and supervisors) in any industry, with funding prioritised for workers in retail, tourism, transport and logistics, hospitality, cleaning and security services industries, and to increase infection control skill levels in sectors such as aged and disability care.

International education and training sector funding

The Qld government committed $15 million in additional funding for the state’s International Education and Training sector as part of a state-wide response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The package included the $10 million International Student Crisis Assistance Package that provided financial assistance to support up to 20,000 international students in hardship, doubling student support services via the Queensland Student Hub and grants of $40,000 for quality VET and ELICOS providers to adapt their business models for digital and post-COVID education.

The Online Student Hub was announced on 22 April 2020, and is a digital platform linking case workers with students who can receive guidance on mental health, visa, crisis accommodation and other essential needs.

JobTrainer

The Qld Government’s $201 million JobTrainer package was announced on 25 September 2020. The Qld package comprises an investment of $100.5 million from the Commonwealth matched dollar-for-dollar by the State Government. The program targets school leavers and job seekers, providing increased access to low-fee or free training and students must enrol before September 2021 and complete their training by 30 June 2022 to qualify for the fund.

On 24 February 2021, it was announced JobTrainer would be expanded to include 32 more courses.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

The South Australian (SA) Government did not release an economic recovery plan/document. The Government announced the first stage of their economic stimulus package 11 March 2020, followed by an additional announcement on 26 March 2020. Further information about the major initiatives introduced to support businesses, jobs and the community in response to COVID-19 is available from the Department of Treasury and Finance website.

Community and Jobs Support Fund

The $250 million Community and Jobs Support Fund aims to assist community organisations, such as sporting, arts and recreational bodies, non-profit organisations and some other industry sectors. The Fund is also expected to help train South Australians seeking new skills and employment and to assist organisations to meet increased demand for services, including emergency relief.

Included in the Fund is a $13.8 million support package for South Australia's international students.

The Fund is part of the wider Jobs Rescue Package announced on 26 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Equipped for growth

Equipped for Growth provides targeted financial support for businesses in the following priority sectors: aged or disability; childcare; ICT or cybersecurity; defence; and creative industries.

Under the Equipped for Growth JobTrainer project, employers in the priority sectors who employ students from a JobTrainer course into an aligned occupation may be entitled to $1250 after three months of employment, and $1250 after six months of employment. To be eligible, the young person (aged between 17-24 years) must be employed for at least 20 hours per week, on a part-time or full-time basis, within 90 days of them completing an eligible JobTrainer course. JobTrainer is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established through the National Partnership Agreement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Equipped for Growth Business Boost, employers in the priority sectors may be entitled to receive payments of up to $5000 when they hire a new apprentice to cover for upfront costs such as recruitment, pre-employment testing, work placement, and induction costs; time taken to on-board a new apprentice; costs associated with apprentices and trainees transitioning to online and working from home arrangements, as well as new training delivery models; cultural and wellbeing activity; etc. Eligible businesses will receive: $1500 on commencement of an apprentice's training contract; $2000 on completion of an apprentice's probation period; and $1500 after an apprentice's first 12 months.

Group Training Boost

The Group Training Boost is available for a limited time for training contracts at Certificate II level or higher that are in place by 28 February 2021 (subject to funding availability). Business looking to host a new apprentice or trainee through a group training organisation (GTO) from 2 March 2020, may be able to access a reduced charge out rate of up to $200 per week per apprentice for six months, to reduce costs associated with the impact of COVID-19. Eligible businesses will receive up to $5200 off the GTO charge out rate in total.

Infection Control Training Fund and COVID clean training

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID clean training is nationally recognised training in infection prevention and control designed for the retail, tourism, transport and logistics, hospitality, cleaning, security services and health (aged care and disability services) sectors.

COVID clean training is subsidised under the Infection Control Training Fund. To receive COVID clean training, people must be: working in a customer-facing role, including business owners and supervisors, in retail, tourism, transport and logistics, hospitality, cleaning, security services, aged care or disability services in South Australia; an Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent Australian resident or an eligible visa holder; and 16 years or older and not enrolled at school.

International Student Support Package

A $13.8 million support package for South Australia's international students was announced on 21 April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package has three components:

  • $10 million funding distributed the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia to distribute to their pathway and international students university students significantly impacted by COVID-19
  • a $500 emergency cash grant to other international students (including VET students) significantly impacted by the restrictions, currently enrolled in a course, living in South Australia and who meet the criteria
  • a one-off $200 assistance payment per school students living with South Australian families provided to homestay families.

This package is part of the Community and Jobs Support Fund.

JobTrainer

The SA Government announced its $88 million JobTrainer package on 31 August 2020. The SA package, which comprises an investment of $53.5 million by the SA Government and $34.5 million from the Australian Government, complements Skilling South Australia.

The JobTrainer target is 15 000 training places and is aimed at providing low-cost training to young South Australians, school leavers and job seekers in industries where there is high demand for skilled workers to drive employment, such as aged care, disability care and childcare. It also includes support for around 4000 people to transition into paid training contracts such as apprenticeships and traineeships in sectors that have not traditionally used the paid traineeship model.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Mentoring Suspended Apprentices and Trainees project

The Mentoring Suspended Apprentices and Trainees project is a cross-industry mentoring project established by the Training and Skills Commission (TASC) in partnership with the Government of South Australia's Skilling South Australia initiative. The project delivers ongoing support to South Australian apprentices and trainees employed by businesses and who have had their training contracts suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It assists apprentices and trainees to remain engaged and focused on completing elements of their learning during the period of suspension. It also provides support to participants by connecting them to specialist services where required.

VET Market Continuity Package

The $16 million VET Market Continuity Package was announced on 4 April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package is aimed at supporting non-government training providers meet the skill needs of the state and to adapt and remain viable. The package comprises two measures for training providers that have existing contracts with the SA Government:

  1. a $4 million investment that enables training providers to put in place delivery modes and technology to support training, students and employers
  2. continuity of subsidy payments at pre-COVID activity levels for a period of three months until June 2020, after which payments will be reviewed.

The State Recovery Advisory Group to guide the COVID-19 recovery in Western Australia (WA) was announced 27 May 2020. The WA recovery plan, informed by the advisory group, was released 26 July 2020.

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive

The $4.8 million Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive, announced on 28 July 2020 as part of the $229.2 million Rebuilding our TAFEs program, aims to provide financial support to employers who take on a displaced apprentice or trainee. Employers who take on an apprentice or trainee whose training contract was terminated or cancelled by a previous employer on or after 1 March 2020 receive a one-off payment of $6000 for an apprentice and $3000 for a trainee.

Employers including group training organisations (GTOs) are eligible if:

  • the business is a Western Australian employer
  • they have an active training contract for the apprentice or trainee registered with the Department of Training and Workforce Development's Apprenticeship Office
  • the commencement date of employment of the apprentice or trainee is between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021
  • the apprentice or trainee resides in Western Australia (including The Indian Ocean Territories)
  • the apprentice or trainee has passed the relevant probation period or completed the training contract, with the new employer.

Construction Industry COVID-19 support package

On 23 April 2020, the WA Government and Construction Training Fund (CTF) announced a new $24.5 million support package for the construction industry, to ensure jobs are maintained and the Western Australian construction workforce is ready to assist with the post COVID-19 economic recovery. The package comprises:

  • $10 million to provide an immediate, one-off payment of $2000 to employers of existing apprentices and trainees currently receiving CTF grant payments.
  • A new grants scheme worth $9.5 million, to assist employers to retain their existing apprentices, with payments beginning from 1 June 2020 (backdated from 1 April 2020). Payments range from $250 to $500 per month, per apprentice or trainee, depending on the trades facing the most critical skills shortages in the industry. This supplements CTF's existing grants scheme for a period of six months - employers currently receiving CTF grants for apprentices and trainees in employment are eligible for the new grant scheme.
  • $5 million to support more than 5000 building and construction apprentices and trainees to claim up to $1000 to support the costs of undertaking short training courses to assist them in upskilling to meet business needs.

COVID-19 Direct Care Skill Set

On 27 April 2020, the WA Government announced it had fast-tracked funding for TAFE and some specialist private training providers to roll out new training for the aged and disability sectors. The COVID-19 Direct Care Skill Set, co-designed by employers, the Community Services, Health and Education Training Council and vocational education and training (VET) sector, is aimed at increasing the number of skilled workers in the aged care and disability sectors. It contains three nationally accredited units of competency recognised by a Statement of Attainment, providing credit towards a range of qualifications where these skills are required.

COVID-19 Direct Care Skill Set was originally 99 per cent subsidised (available for $22) but is now part of the fee free infection control skill sets that are 100 per cent subsidised.

Free training for displaced apprentices and trainees

On 5 June 2020, the WA Government announced eligible apprentices and trainees displaced between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 will not have to pay any course or resource fees for any units they commence for up to six months. Fee relief will continue to apply if the apprentice or trainee is subsequently picked up by another employer. Fees will be paid by the Western Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development directly to training providers. Providers will be able to access these payments from 1 July 2020. This support is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is aimed at making apprentices and trainees more employable in the recovery.

The fee relief is supported by a new Out of Contract Register to help apprentices and trainees who have been stood down to find a new employer.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund supports customer-facing businesses to train workers in how to minimise the risk of COVID-19 and support them to re-open safely.

Infection control skill sets, developed specifically to safely manage infection control in the workplace in key areas such as aged care, disability support, retail, hospitality, transport and logistics, are 100 per cent free for everyone.

Infrastructure Ready TAFE program

The Infrastructure Ready TAFE program was announced as part of a wider initiative aimed at driving the sustainability of the civil construction industry by developing an ongoing pool of entry-level workers. The program is a partnership between the WA Government and industry and offers incentives to contractors to employ and retain program participants. The pilot program began in late October with the first round of job-ready participants given the opportunity to gain entry level prospects with contractors from the civil construction industry, by early 2021.

A new Infrastructure Ready skill set that supports the pilot program prepares workers for entry level roles in the infrastructure industry as well as provide further study pathways. The four-week TAFE course is free for people on JobSeeker/JobKeeper payments or are concession-eligible or aged under 25. The fee for non-eligible participants is $191.

Job ready skill sets

The job ready skill sets have been developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver fast track training that help individuals get the skills they need to get jobs. They can also be used as a credit towards a full qualification from the Lower Fees, Local Skills program. Job ready skill sets include general entry level training in a range of industries including hospitality, health care, retail, business, cyber security, agriculture and construction.

Some skills sets such as Operating a Small Business and Heavy Haulage Driving Operations are free for everyone. Other skill sets are 100 per cent free for eligible students: persons aged 15-24 years at the time of enrolment (excluding school students); secondary school-aged persons who are not enrolled at school; persons receiving the JobSeeker or JobKeeper payment; persons and dependents of persons receiving the Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY or ABSTUDY; persons and dependents of persons holding either a pensioner concession card or Health Care Card, or a Repatriation Health Benefits Card issued by the Department of Veterans' Affairs; dependents of persons who are inmates of a custodial institution.

This initiative is part of the $229.2 million Rebuilding our TAFEs program under the 'WA recovery plan'.

JobTrainer

The WA Government announced its $103.4 million JobTrainer Agreement on 13 October 2020. The WA package comprises an investment of $51.7 million from the Australian Government matched dollar-for-dollar by the WA Government. The program will fund free or low-fee training places in WA, with a combination of short and long courses for job seekers, and young people, including school leavers.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Lower fees, local skills program

The Lower Fees, Local Skills program is aimed at supporting training in growth areas. Under the program, course fees are cut by 50 per cent for any units of competency commenced by new or continuing students in selected qualifications between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021. As well as half price course fees, all students aged 15-24 years of age, and other eligible concession students are eligible for the course fee cap of $400. The course fee cap for non-concession students is $1200.

The program commenced in January 2020 with 34 half price course fees qualifications.

On 2 July 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAFE fees for an additional 39 high priority courses were reduced by between 50 per cent and up to 72 per cent for Diploma courses. Another 107 qualifications will be available under this initiative from January 2021.

The expansion of the Lower Fees, Local Skills program is part of the $229.2 million Rebuilding our TAFEs program under the 'WA recovery plan' released in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rebuilding our TAFEs

The $229.2 million Rebuilding our TAFEs program was announced on 28 July 2020 as part of the $5.5 billion 'WA recovery plan' aimed at driving economic and social recovery across WA. The Rebuilding our TAFEs plan includes:

  • $167.4 million in capital works projects across Western Australia
  • $25 million for free short courses to upskill thousands of Western Australians
  • $32 million for the expansion of the Lower fees, local skills program
  • $4.8 million for the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive.

The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) was announced on 30 April 2020. The Council was established to provide advice on how best to support Tasmania’s short, medium, and longer-term recovery from COVID-19, and delivered its interim report to the Premier on 20 July 2020.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund provides training places in infection control skill sets to customer-facing workers. In Tasmania, the Fund is managed by Skills Tasmania. To be eligible, applicants must be a Skills Tasmania endorsed registered training organisation (RTO); and scoped for the skill set/s for which they are applying, including showing Tasmania as a site. The Fund grant eligibility criteria:

  • The skill set/s for which training is provided must relate directly to the type of business whose staff are receiving training.
  • Learners must be currently employed and may include casual employees and those on JobKeeper payments.
  • Learners who have completed HLTINF001 'Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures' within the previous five years whose training was funded by Skills Tasmania are eligible for funding.

Employees of the Australian, Tasmanian and local governments are not eligible for funding.

JobTrainer

The Tasmanian Government announced its $21.04 million JobTrainer package on 23 September 2020. The package comprises an investment of $10.52 million from the Commonwealth matched dollar-for-dollar by the Tasmanian Government. The program targets school leavers and job seekers, providing increased access to low-fee or free training. Training is focused on skill sets and qualifications in areas of job growth, agreed by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Mentoring for Success program

The $1.5 million Mentoring for Success program was announced by the Tasmanian Government on 3 March 2021 and responds to recommendation 15 of the Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council interim report (p. 14). The program will support an escalation in the use of Group Training Organisations (GTOs) by small to medium enterprises in all industries across the state. Grants will be offered to GTOs who place an apprentice or trainee with an eligible host employer.

Funding allocated will be $6,000 per successful applicant for full-time apprentices or trainees. Funding payable for full-time apprentices or trainees will be $4,000 as the first instalment on completion of probation of the apprentice or trainee then $2,000 as the second instalment on successful completion of the first 12 months of the training contract. GTOs applying for part-time apprentices or trainees will be eligible for $2,000 as the first instalment and $1,000 as the second instalment. Up to 200 places (or full-time equivalent) will be supported by the grants.

The program opened on Monday 1 March 2021 and closes 26 February 2022 at 4 pm (or sooner if funds are fully allocated).

Rapid Response Skills Initiative - expansion of initiative in response to COVID-19

The Rapid Response Skills Initiative (RRSI) is a Tasmanian Government program that provides support for people who have lost their jobs because of retrenchment due to company downsizing or closure. It provides funding assistance of up to $3000 to people who need help to up-skill, retrain or obtain licences in order to gain new employment. The RRSI program aims to get people back to work as soon as possible by making funding assistance available when the individual has been notified by their employer that they will be made redundant.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced on 27 March 2020 an expansion of RRSI with an additional $6.3 million to help redeploy people who lost their jobs. To help move workers into new jobs as quickly as possible, a Rapid Response Skills Matching Service has been established to help match and prepare job ready workers with industries and businesses.

SKILL UP for your future

SKILL UP for your future (also referred to as TasTAFE SkillUp), announced on 11 May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is aimed at enabling Tasmanians to quickly upskill, reskill or gain new skills, ready to enter into employment or change careers once the economy starts to recover. It comprises a suite of online short courses and skill sets, many of which have no fees, specifically focused on transferrable skills useful to employers across various jobs and industries, as well as skills to support people to successfully enter employment.

To be eligible, individuals must be: a resident of Tasmania or working in Tasmania; an Australian or New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or on a state sponsored visa on a pathway to permanent residence; and of working age.

Train Now Fund

The objective of the Train Now Fund, announced on 29 April 2020, is to deliver and subsidise training and workforce development activities to support businesses and existing impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically targets training for existing workers, including sole traders, who are still employed and have capacity to train during the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsidised training is aimed at: ensuring employers who have urgent training needs can access funding support; improving the likelihood of businesses remaining sustainable; increasing the future productivity of the business to support economic recovery and growth; and increasing the skill level and future employability of employees who remain with their employer, through completion of nationally recognised training.

The grant supports three different partner types: any endorsed registered training organisation (RTO) can apply for a Train Now Fund grant in partnership with an employer, industry association or business/small business groups. A range of eligibility applies, including: the endorsed RTO must have the qualifications/skill sets/units of competency on their scope of registration; the endorsed RTO must be financially viable at the time of applying for and for the duration of any subsequent funding agreement; the applicant must provide evidence of the partnership with the employer or industry association; and the existing workers who undertake the training must not be eligible for an apprenticeship or traineeship. Train Now Fund applications could be submitted on an ongoing basis until 30 September 2020 or until funds were fully allocated.

The Train Now Fund is part of the $6.3 million expansion of the Rapid Response Skills Initiative

The Northern Territory Government (NT) announced the initial membership of the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission on 22 May 2020, and released Operation Rebound, the Green Paper on the Territory’s recovery developed to help guide the Commission’s work. The first report of the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission was announced on 20 July 2020, and the final report of the Commission was released 1 December 2020. Further information about the Northern Territory (NT) economic recovery strategy is available from the NT Rebound website.

Free training courses

A suite of over 50 free training courses have been developed to help Northern Territory (NT) workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to upskill and reskill. The short courses cover a range of industries, including digital, environmental studies, finance, emergency and disaster, health and education, practical business skills, skills for tradies and hospitality and can be taken online or in classrooms with reduced class sizes. Courses are open to Territorians who meet the eligibility criteria which is determined by the training organisations contracted to deliver the courses.

These short courses have been replaced by the Infection control Training and JobTrainer program.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $800 000 fund, with the Northern Territory (NT) and Australian Governments each investing $400 000, delivers fee free infection control training to customer facing businesses to make these businesses COVID-19 safe workplaces. The fund was announced on 19 May 2020.

JobTrainer

Northern Territory (NT) is eligible to receive up to $4.8 million in Commonwealth funding in 2020-21 for the JobTrainer program, with the NT Government to match this amount. The program provides free and low-cost training for job seekers and eligible young people to upskill or reskill. JobTrainer funded courses will be available in January 2021.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Small Business Financial Fitness Fund

The Small Business Financial Fitness Fund was announced in the NT 2020-21 budget, and is a $2 million program to support businesses to access financial sustainability training programs specific to their needs.

The program has two components:

  1. Peak industry bodies will be able to apply for grants of up to $250,000 to develop a training program specific to their sector, with support from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade. Peak industry bodies were able to register their interest to participate from November 2020, with applications opening March 2021.
  2. Training providers can register to deliver financial and business sustainability training for small businesses from late November 2020. This may include accredited and non-accredited programs that target industries in need. Individual businesses will be able to directly apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to attend the training.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government announced the ACT jobs and recovery plan on 26 August 2020, which was released as part of the ACT’s August 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update the following day.

Infection Control Training Fund and skill sets

The Infection Control Training Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments aimed at supporting businesses to reopen and continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund provides fee-free training places in infection control skill sets to customer-facing workers. Registered training organisations (RTOs) that hold an ACT Training Initiative Funding Agreement and have the newly endorsed infection control Skill Sets on scope are eligible to apply for this funding.

To be eligible for the fee-free training, participants must be: an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand passport holder resident for more than 6 months or a person who holds a visa that is identified as being an eligible visa holder, and living or working in the ACT; at least 15 years of age; and be employed in a customer-facing role, at the time of enrolment.

JobTrainer

The ACT Government announced its $16.75 million JobTrainer package on 8 September 2020. The ACT package comprises $8.3 million from the Australian Government, matched dollar-for-dollar by the ACT Government. The program aims to deliver approximately 3500 training places in key industries and occupations that are in demand in the ACT by offering free vocational education and training to young people (aged 17 to 24 who have finished school) and job seekers across Canberra in areas of employment growth.

The JobTrainer Fund is a joint Commonwealth and states and territories initiative established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Support for international students

On 28 April 2020, the ACT Government announced a new $450 000 support package for temporary visa holders and international students. The Red Cross will also work with tertiary institutions to provide $150 000 in ACT Government support to international students who have experienced financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Support includes emergency accommodation, legal advice and access to health services.

Support for the VET sector

The ACT Government announced the following measures to support the capacity of the vocational education and training (VET) sector during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Delay the pricing measures introduced in January 2020, to address User Choice and Skilled Capital program budget pressures, until 2021. Subsidy levels will be reinstated to 2019 levels. The changes apply only for 2020 enrolments and payments will be backdated for User Choice commencements and Skilled Capital enrolments from 15 January 2020.
  • Release an additional 2405 Skilled Capital places across 60 qualifications and 39 skills sets to address emerging workforce needs in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Provide registered training organisations (RTOs) with an ACT Government Training Initiative Funding Agreement access to a 50 per cent unit payment where a student has commenced a unit of competency, but the RTO is not able to finalise assessment due to workplace access and social distancing policies.

Youth Support Package

The ACT Government's Youth Support Package provides:

  • a six-month payroll tax exemption for businesses that pay wages for new employees who are apprentices or trainees. The exemption applies to six months of wages for eligible employees recruited between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021
  • a $2 million extension of the ACT Public Service graduate program to provide additional graduate positions over the next two years, including cadet and apprentice recruitment
  • an additional $250 000 for targeted mental health support for young people, building on the Mental Health Support Package previously announced as part of the economic survival package.

Background information

  • The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), WHO's highest level of alarm, on 30 January 2020 and announced the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. See Timeline: WHO's COVID-19 response, the World Health Organization interactive timeline for more information.

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