What is the Industry Clusters?
The Industry Clusters is a grant opportunity which aims to provide industry with a stronger, more strategic voice and broader role in ensuring Australia’s VET system continues to deliver on employer and learner needs.
The Department has committed to improving the VET system by enhancing industry’s role through the establishment of Industry Clusters as separate legal entities. The Department intends for the Industry Clusters to be ‘industry owned and led’. It is contemplated that new entities will be established for the purposes of carrying out the functions of an Industry Cluster, however, consideration will be given to existing organisations where they can demonstrate that they are ‘industry owned and led’ and capable of delivering on the objectives of the program, as set out in the assessment criteria.
The program intends to establish and fund nine Industry Clusters (although the number and groupings of Industry Clusters will be determined through this grant funding process including the opportunity for applicants to propose alternate arrangements). The number of Industry Clusters is intended to support scale, efficiency and collaboration across the training system, and ensure sufficient funding is available for each cluster. Details of the proposed Industry Cluster groupings is as set out at Appendix B to these Grant Opportunity Guidelines.
The Australian Government has established the Program to help identify and address skills needs. By funding the establishment, operations and activities of a national network of industry-owned and industry-led organisations, known as Industry Clusters, the Program will broaden and strengthen industry’s vital role at the centre of workforce and skills development.
Industry Clusters will be established by industry. They will bring together industry leaders to look forward, drive performance and improve outcomes across and beyond the training system. Industry Clusters will draw on and complement the activities of other established Industry Clusters, the National Skills Commission and the National Careers Institute.
Stage 1: Open competitive process
Stage 1 will seek applications from industry leaders, which represent a range of related industry sectors, detailing how they would propose to establish and subsequently operate an Industry Cluster entity. It is anticipated that up to $750,000 (GST incl) in funding may be made available to assist in covering costs relating to the establishment of an Industry Cluster.
Stage 1 of the grant opportunity will be open for approximately four months to allow participants in relevant industries to consolidate and prepare a combined application.
Stage 2: Closed non-competitive process
Once successful applicants in Stage 1 have undertaken any initial activities in relation to their Industry Cluster, the Industry Cluster organisation may then participate in the second stage of the grant process, being a closed non-competitive process. The Industry Cluster organisation is to submit an application detailing how it proposes to carry out the Industry Cluster function. It is expected that this application will be substantially similar to the proposal lodged in response to Stage 1 of the process.
Note, the applicant for Stage 2 should be the Industry Cluster entity established. Successful applicants will enter a grant agreement to obtain funding to deliver the Industry Cluster functions and this grant agreement will provide both operational and activity funding.
Based on the assumption that nine Industry Clusters will be funded it is anticipated that:
- funding of up to $4.6 million annually may be made available to an Industry Cluster for general operations; and
- funding of up to $5.6 million annually may be made available to deliver the required activities under the four Industry Cluster functions – being workforce planning; training product development; support for training product delivery, supporting implementation, promotion and monitoring; and industry stewardship.
Funding will be provided for Industry Clusters through a block funding approach, with Industry Clusters able to allocate block funding across their approved work program.
Funding for Industry Cluster grant activities will be provided through the following funding streams:
- Establishment funding (following Stage 1 only);
- Operational funding (following Stage 2 only); and
- Activity funding (following Stage 2 only).
Stage 1 of the grant opportunity is an open competitive process with eligible applications being assessed against the nominated assessment criteria (CGRG 13.11).
To be eligible to lodge an application for Stage 1 of the Program Grant Opportunity Process an Applicant must either be:
- an individual who is:
- an Australian citizen;
- widely recognised as a leader within your industry; and
- eligible to hold a directorship on a Board; or
- an entity incorporated in Australia, which is recognised as a leader within your industry. If a joint (consortia) application is being lodged, a lead organisation which is an entity incorporated in Australia must be identified as the relevant applicant (refer to section 2 for further information).
In order for your application to be eligible for further consideration your proposed legal structure for the Industry Cluster must be either a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), or an alternative legal structure where a detailed business case that outlines why another structure may be appropriate and should be considered.
Stage 2 of the grant opportunity is a closed non-competitive process (CGRG 13.11).
To be eligible, you must be invited to submit an application. If you are invited to establish a new entity, the newly established entity is to be the applicant.
Applications will be assessed individually against Stage 2 selection criteria (not against other applications).
Applications from consortia are acceptable providing there is a lead applicant who is solely accountable to the Commonwealth for the delivery of the grant activities and an eligible entity as described under Section 4.1. Eligible organisations can form a consortia arrangement with ineligible organisations.
Applications close 31 March 2022.