TAFE AND APPRENTICES CANNOT AFFORD ANOTHER TERM OF LIBERAL CUTS

The commencement of a new TAFE year is a reminder of the stark difference between Federal and NSW Labor and the Liberals when it comes to TAFE funding, skills education and apprenticeship training.

The Liberals are failing to stop the decline, they are failing to invest in training trades people and they are failing to invest in TAFE.

The NSW TAFE and vocational education system cannot afford another term of Liberal governments if it is to survive.

 

New figures confirm the decline in apprentices across the Illawarra.

At the end of March 2018 there were 2,441 fewer apprentices in training in the Illawarra than when the current Federal Liberal Government was elected in September 2013 (see table below for details).

Electorate

Decline

30 Sept 2013 –

31 March 2018

Percentage decline

30 Sept 2013 –

31 March 2018

Total number of apprentices in training as at 31 March 2018

Cunningham

972

39%

1,501

Whitlam

659

22%

2,361

Gilmore

810

30%

1,887

 

2,441

30%

5,749

Source: NCVER Apprentice and Trainee Collection, March quarter 2018

Under the Federal Liberals, the VET system has been damaged by funding cuts, privatisation, excessive competition policy and poor regulation.

This includes:

  • $3 billion in cuts to vocational education
  • 140,000 fewer apprentices across Australia
  • TAFE enrolments plummeting by 24.5 per cent
  • A loss of 5,700 TAFE teachers in NSW over the last eight years
  • thousands of students accruing bad debts
  • failed $24 million Australian Apprenticeship Management System
  • dodgy training providers flourishing

In New South Wales, the combination of Federal and State Liberal governments has seen TAFEs close, courses cancelled, the cost of courses sky-rocket, teachers sacked and TAFE campuses, like Dapto TAFE, close. 

State and Federal Labor have put forward strong and positive polices for Australia – and there is a very clear choice when it comes to TAFE, skills and apprentices.

NSW Labor will:

  1. Guarantee at least 70 per cent of all NSW vocational education and training funding for TAFE
  2. Establish a private provider investigations unit
  3. Employ 10% apprentices on any NSW Government funded project over $500,000
  4. Ban unpaid internships
  5. Criminalise wage theft
  6. Protect ‘gig’ economy workers

Federal Labor will:

  1. Guarantee two out of three public vocational education dollars go to TAFE, with the balance going to not-for-profit community and adult educators, and only high quality private providers with demonstrated links to industry.
  2. Waive upfront fees for 100,000 students to attend TAFE.
  3. Invest $100 million in modernising TAFE facilities around the country.
  4. Ensure one in every ten jobs on Commonwealth priority projects are filled by Australian apprentices
  5. Provide 10,000 pre-apprenticeships for young people who want to learn a trade
  6. Provide 20,000 adult apprenticeships for older workers who want or need to retrain
  7. Establish an Apprenticeship Advocate to ensure Australia has an excellent, high quality and inclusive apprenticeship system.
  8. Establish a National Commission of Review into Post-secondary education within the first 100 days of government.

While the Liberals have shown a combination of contempt and neglect for apprentices, skills and training at both the state and federal level, Labor has put forward a strong suite of polices to help train our workers for the future economy.

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