TAFE needs to be at the heart of decisions on vocational education sector

Federal Labor’s vision for job training and skills must focus on TAFE and be backed up with funding, Federation Deputy Secretary Maxine Sharkey said today.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has announced a Labor government would establish Jobs and Skills Australia — a partnership between unions, business, government and education providers — to “ensure training is meeting today’s needs but also anticipate how work is changing”.

Ms Sharkey said there was an urgent need for an overhaul of investment in public education and vocational education and training (VET) in Australia.

Just recently, the Morrison Government stripped $4 billion in tertiary sector capital funding from the Education Investment Fund and failed to spend nearly $1 billion in funding allocated for TAFE and training programs over five years.

“Since being in government, the federal Coalition has overseen 140,000 fewer apprentices now than when it was elected, cut $3 billion from vocational education, resulting in declining vocational education and training enrolments,” Ms Sharkey said.

“Labor’s election guarantee that at least two out of every three dollars of public funding would go to public TAFE is the right policy to help end the skills crisis in Australia.

“Labor’s commitment to hold a national inquiry into post-secondary education is widely supported across the sector and would ensure our vocational education system is ready to face the future.”