One-off grant funding of $20,000 up to $200,000 is available to industry groups to boost workforce participation

Applications are now closed for this funding round.

Overview

The Growing Workforce Participation Fund (the Fund) aims to develop partnerships with industry to build longevity and sustainability in the workforce by empowering industry and employers to support jobseekers from identified groups who experience greater disadvantage in the labour market.

The revitalised Back to Work program is designed to give businesses the confidence to employ Queenslanders who have experienced a minimum period of unemployment and help workers facing disadvantage in the labour market.

To learn more about the Back to Work program, read https://backtowork.initiatives.qld.gov.au/whats-new/.

 

 

 

The industry offering of the Back to Work program is the Growing Workforce Participation Fund (the Fund). It is a new approach for the Back to Work program, recognising the importance of industry engagement in creating long-term sustainable employment outcomes for people who experience greater disadvantage in the labour market.

The fund enables and encourages industry partnerships, including organisations who represent identified groups, to trial new approaches aimed at creating improved job matching, industry specific pre-employment pathways and the development of resources for both jobseekers and employers.

The Fund empowers industry to identify and address unique place-based employment challenges, providing opportunities for employers to support jobseekers and aims to create systemic change to encourage greater labour market participation.

Grant funding is available for innovative projects that can assist with breaking down the barriers facing the targeted groups in fully participating in the labour market. One-off grant funding of $20,000 up to $200.000 is available, with one year to complete the project from the signed agreement date for successful applicants.

The Fund will:

  • provide new, innovative solutions to industry specific employment concerns
  • facilitate industry-led solutions to employment shortages and retention challenges
  • provide greater industry-specific support for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
Launch of the Growing Workforce Participation Fund

Funding guidelines and terms and conditions

11 March 2022
Round 1 opens for applications 28 March 2022
Round 1 applications close 5pm, 9 May 2022
Round 1 outcomes announced 3-7 June 2022
Services Agreements issued to successful applicants 8 June 2022
Executed Services Agreements due 17 June 2022

Applications must be made through the Growing Workforce Participation Fund grant applications portal. Via the portal, applicants must:

  1. register to access the applications portal
  2. once registered, applicants can sign in to the applications portal
  3. complete the application form and provide all supporting documentation.

You can now register for access to the grants portal.

Please note: A maximum of 3500 characters will apply in some sections of the online form. If you need to refer to particular elements of your project in more detail, you can include this in your project plan that can be uploaded as an attachment.

The Fund application form will be available via the portal from 28 March 2022 and will remain while the funding round is open. The round will close at 5pm on 9 May 2022.

Note: If the form is not available, the round has not yet opened, or has already closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Growing Workforce Participation Fund is open to industry organisations and cohort representative organisations. Collaborative projects are encouraged and may include the participation of local governments, consortium partnerships with regional industry groups and cohort representative groups.

For industry organisations and cohort representative organisations wanting to establish a consortium partnership, the application must be submitted by an eligible provider and only one application per eligible provider is permitted per funding round.

The breakdown of proposed funding between the consortium partnerships must be detailed as part of the proposed project budget.

Eligible organisations include:

  • industry associations – an organisation representing an industry, including peak business and employer organisations and industry advisory bodies, such as industry skills councils.
  • Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • local councils in eligible Back to Work delivery areas
  • community based organisations
  • social enterprises.

For more information, read the Guidelines for Funding and Terms and Conditions

Under the Growing Workforce Participation Fund, the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) is targeting specific locations, including regional Queensland and some South East Queensland (SEQ) local government areas (LGAs).

Regional areas:

  • Wide Bay Burnett
  • North Queensland
  • Far North Queensland
  • Mackay/Whitsunday
  • Central Queensland
  • North West Queensland
  • South West Queensland

SEQ LGAs:

  • Ipswich
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Logan
  • Moreton Bay
  • Scenic Rim and
  • Somerset.

There is a specific focus on supporting people from the following target groups:

  • young people (aged 15-24 years)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people with disability and
  • long-term unemployed people (unemployed for 52 weeks or longer).

For the purposes of the Growing Workforce Participation Fund (the Fund), innovation is defined as:

  • change that adds value, transforming employment through introducing new or diverse concepts, models, services and products that disrupts, challenges and advances existing employment practices.

The Fund also recognises that innovation occurs in varying ways which can include:

  • incremental innovation – minor changes to existing services, products, concepts and/or models that have significant impacts
  • radical innovation – major changes to existing/or creates new services, products, concepts and/or models that have significant impacts and
  • systemic innovation – major new creations that have significant and far reaching impacts.

The revitalised Back to Work program has a strong focus on supporting long-term sustainable employment which is often referred to as ’employee retention’. Retention is achieved when employers have an ongoing commitment to the employment of the employee. For the purposes of the revitalised Back to Work program and the Growing Workforce Participation Fund, retention is where employees are employed beyond 52 weeks.

Eligible activities under the Growing Workforce Participation Fund may include:

  • projects that aim to increase labour market participation and engagement from the targeted groups under Back to Work
  • pre-employment support projects
  • workforce planning and/or development and associated resource development
  • projects that address industry identified employment shortages.

For the full list of eligible activities, read the Guidelines for Funding and Terms and Conditions.

There are several activities that will generally not be considered for funding including:

  • projects that require ongoing funding
  • existing initiatives
  • construction and/or capital works
  • ongoing training delivery
  • business as usual activities
  • travel and accommodation and
  • research.

 

The Growing Workforce Participation Funding cannot be used for:

  • any recurring cost for the organisation, for instance, ongoing staff costs; established positions within the organisation; normal operating costs (i.e.utility and telecommunications charges, building lease costs) and core functions of the organisation
  • the purchase of assets/capital equipment, or significant assets (buildings or vehicles)
  • retrospective payments for expenses already incurred prior to grant funding approval or for work already undertaken
  • costs for consultants/contractors that are associated entities with the applicant
  • travel costs, including hiring and leasing of transport, airfares and fuel (in recognition of the transport restrictions in rural and remote areas in Queensland, travel costs may be considered if it is critical in enabling full participation of the eligible activities) and
  • costs associated with attendance at domestic and international trade show/s, including interstate and overseas travel.

Funding from other sources must also be disclosed. To avoid duplication with other similar funding sources, funding is not available for services (including equipment) being funded through other initiatives/programs.

For the full list of ineligible activities, read the Guidelines for Funding and Terms and Conditions.

Examples of eligible activities are outlined on page five of the Guidelines for Funding. These examples are not an exhaustive list of what applicants may propose and are provided as thought-starters.

Every application to the Fund will be unique as applicants are asked to put forward proposals to provide innovative solutions to industry specific employment concerns.

Funding is awarded by a competitive assessment process where applications received during an open round will be assessed against eligible activities and assessment criteria.

  • There is a two-stage assessment process:

Stage one: assessment against provider and activity eligibility

The stage one assessment involves assessing applications against the provider and activity eligibility. This stage must be passed before proceeding to stage two assessment.

Stage two: assessment against the assessment criteria

The stage two assessment involves assessing applications against the provider and activity eligibility criteria under the guidelines. Applications will be shortlisted and then assessed by a moderated panel convened by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

Assessment criteria How this will be assessed – including but not limited to:
Capacity to   manage
  • Financial viability of the organisation.
  • Organisational structure, governance, risk management and reporting framework.
  • Has experience in managing government funds and delivering similar projects.
  • The project team, including the project team’s experience in working with and  supporting the target groups.
Project innovation
  • Project objectives and outcomes, including the project innovation.
  • Evidence of how the project is innovative.
  • Commitment that the project supports the objectives of the revitalised Back to Work program.
  • Links to local employers, other industry organisations and stakeholders.
Addresses and responds to industry need
  • Demonstrated industry demand and benefit.
  • No duplication with other programs or services, which includes clear articulation on how the project differs from normal business activities.
  • Capacity to meet employment shortages and labour market needs.
Outcomes and sharing best practice
  • Explanation of how the project will be successful.
  • Explanation of how measures of success will be incorporated in project implementation and outcomes reporting.
  • Explanation of the economic and social impact of the project.
  • Commitment to sharing learnings with industry and government.
  • How the information will be shared and through what mechanisms/channels.
Cost/value for money
  • Evidence that demonstrates the project is the most suitable option/solution.
  • Ability to deliver proposed outcomes within prescribed timeframe.
  • Identified innovative ways in reducing the costs of project implementation.
  • Level of complementary funding and assistance accessed from other sources.
Matters of public interest
  • Reasonable checks against available Government and public source information to verify there are no matters of public interest that would prevent funding from being paid.
  • Examples of when an application might not be approved on a public interest basis include:
  • the applicant, its owners, or relevant management staff, have a history of poor compliance with legislation, including but not limited to laws in relation to workplace health and safety and industrial relations
  • matters involving bankruptcy or fiscal insolvency,
  • matters involving fraud or financial crime,
  • the applicant having received similar funding under another government program.

You must provide evidence (supporting documentation) that your project meets the assessment criteria.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • a comprehensive project plan
  • project impact assessment plan
  • risk identification and management plan
  • demonstrated financial capacity to deliver project
  • three years of audited financial statements including an income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow (if available) and notes to the accounts
  • if the organisation is a new entity, and financial statements are not available, the following may be considered:
    • financial statements of related companies e.g. another company with shareholding/directors
    • financial statements of the parent company (if a subsidiary)
    • financial statements of partner entities if a joint venture is proposed
    • an account prepared by a CPA or CA qualified accountant for the duration of the operation.

The completed Project Impact Assessment should outline:

  • what the project is trying to achieve
  • how the project will support economic and social outcomes
  • what success looks like and how it is achieved and measured
  • what impact the project will achieve regionally, within the industry and the target groups.

 

The form must be completed in full and include final statements when submitted. Applicants will receive an email acknowledgement of receipt upon submission. Applications received via email, post or in person will not be accepted and only one application per Eligible Provider can be submitted per funding round.

Please note: A maximum of 3500 characters will apply in some sections of the online form. If you need to refer to particular elements of your project in more detail, you can include this in your project plan that can be uploaded as an attachment.

A maximum of 3500 characters will apply in some sections of the online form. If you need to refer to particular elements of your project in more detail, you can include this in your project plan that can be uploaded as an attachment.

Evidence can include:

  • governance document to support how the consortium will work together and what each partner’s responsibilities will be
  • letter of support for consortium partners
  • social media/communications outlining partnership between consortium partners (publicly available information or documented private communications).

If your organisation has been previously been funded to deliver the project, then you cannot apply for funding to deliver the same project.

However, if a previous project had a recommendation or something new to build from, then that may be a project the applicant might consider putting forward.

The purchase of assets/capital equipment, or significant assets (buildings or vehicles) are ineligible under the Fund’s Guidelines for Funding.

If the applicant can demonstrate how the hiring of equipment supports their project and the intended Fund outcomes, then it may be considered.

All costs associated with the project must be outlined as part of the application.

Every project proposal for the Fund will be unique so it is up to the applicant to outline through the application what the funding will be used for and how it will benefit the project that is being proposed.

Collaborative projects are encouraged and may include partnerships with regional industry groups and other industry groups, cohort representative groups and local councils. However, applications must be submitted by an eligible provider.

 The roles and contributions of each of the partners, including financial and in-kind support, should be clearly outlined in the comprehensive project plan and in supporting documentation in the application.

Collaborative projects are encouraged and may include partnerships with regional industry groups and other industry groups, cohort representative groups and local councils. However, applications must be submitted by an eligible provider.

Under the Guidelines for Funding, funding from other sources must be disclosed. This includes in-kind support and financial support. Funding is not available for projects, equipment and/or services that are eligible for funding under other Back to

Work or DESBT funding programs, or that are being funded through other initiatives or programs.

 It should be clearly outlined in the comprehensive project plan and in supporting documentation in the application the roles and contributions of each of the partners, including financial and in-kind support, including that of other Government departments.

Funding cannot be used towards costs of consultants or contractors or other suppliers of services that are associated entities with the applicant.

If the consultants or contractors are independent of the applicant’s organisation, then the scope of their work and costs must be outlined clearly in the applicant’s project proposal.

The Growing Workforce Participation Fund is open to industry organisations and cohort representative organisations. Collaborative projects are encouraged and may include the participation of local governments, consortium partnerships with regional industry groups and cohort representative groups.

Schools may be included as part of a consortium or collaborative project.

For industry organisations and cohort representative organisations wanting to establish a consortium partnership, the application must be submitted by an eligible provider and only one application per eligible provider is permitted per funding round.

The breakdown of proposed funding between the consortium partnerships must be detailed as part of the proposed project budget.

Eligible organisations include:

  • industry associations – an organisation representing an industry, including peak business and employer organisations and industry advisory bodies, such as industry skills councils.
  • Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • local councils in eligible Back to Work delivery areas
  • community based organisations
  • social enterprises.

For more information, read the Guidelines for Funding and Terms and Conditions

Funding cannot be used for any recurring cost for the organisation, for instance, ongoing staff costs; established positions within the organisation; normal operating costs (i.e. utility and telecommunications charges, building lease costs) and core functions of the organisation.

All costs associated with the project must be outlined as part of the application.

Every project proposal for the Fund will be unique so it is up to the applicant to outline in their application what the funding will be used for and how it will benefit the project that is being proposed.

Applications that include costs that are deemed ineligible under the Guidelines for Funding and no longer meet the minimum eligible grant amount of $20,000 will not be approved.

Applications that include costs that are deemed ineligible, but which the remainder of the requested funding is within the eligible funding amount, will be assessed for project viability within the revised budget and activities.

It is very important that applicants provide as much information as possible to support their application to provide the assessment panel with enough contextual information to support their application.

The Growing Workforce Participation Fund is market driven so the funding expended will depend on a range of factors, including number of eligible applications received and the quality of the projects proposed.

It is strongly recommended that applicants put forward as much information as possible to support their proposed project at the time of submitting their application.

There may be a future round of the Growing Workforce Participation Fund, depending on a range of factors including the quantity of successful applications and total funding granted as a result of funding round 1. It is strongly recommended that applicants put forward as much information as possible to support their proposed project at the time of submitting their application.

All projects will be assessed by a moderation panel comprised of government and industry representatives.

It will not be possible for applicants to be contacted to provide additional information to support their proposal due to the tight assessment timeframes.

It is very important that applicants provide as much information as possible to support their application to provide the assessment panel with enough contextual information to support their application.

Applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application once the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training has completed all assessment processes.

If successful, applicants must enter into a Services Agreement with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT). This agreement will detail the amount and nature of the financial assistance provided for the eligible project, as well as project delivery milestones. The Services Agreement must be executed by the successful applicant and returned to DESBT within the published timeframe (see key dates above).

Feedback on the assessment process will be provided on unsuccessful applications upon request. Requests for feedback can be emailed to backtowork@desbt.qld.gov.au.

You may request a review of the decision if your application for funding is not approved.

The appeals process has been established to help identify how decision-making processes can continue to improve and to assist with future applications.

Appeals must be lodged in writing via:

Email: compliance@desbt.qld.gov.au

or

Post:

Appeals Officer

Program Delivery and Contract Management

Department of Employment, Small Business and Training

PO Box 15483

City East

Brisbane QLD 4002

If you appeal the funding decision, you will be notified of the outcome of the review, in writing, within 30 business days from the date on which DESBT receives your written appeal request.