The NSW Teacher Federation welcomes the Albanese Government’s announcement of a National Skills Agreement with state and territory governments to invest billions in new funding for vocational education and training.
NSW Teachers Federation Acting President Henry Rajendra said: “We strongly endorse the federal Government’s plan to invest $12.6 billion to expand and improve access to TAFE and vocational education. After 12 years of neglect by the previous LNP state government, this new injection of national partnership funding is an investment that is vital to our students’ future.
“The Federation calls on the Minns Government and TAFE NSW to work with the Federation to continue the success of the tripartite approach that led to the agreement and immediately begin the rebuilding of TAFE NSW.”
The new national partnership agreement puts TAFE at the heart of vocational education, and TAFE teachers are the heart of TAFE. We welcome the $100 million to support and grow the TAFE teaching workforce. The rebuilding of TAFE NSW must begin with an investment in the TAFE teacher workforce. In 2012 TAFE NSW employed 17,104 teachers and educators but by March 2023 this number had been slashed by the previous NSW LNP government to just 8,262.
“Federation has concerns that TAFE NSW does not have capacity to grow the TAFE educational workforce to meet the growth in student demand as a result of the new Federal funding,” Mr Rajendra said. “Earlier this year, TAFE NSW committed to increasing its permanent teacher workforce, but uncompetitive salaries in the midst of a skill shortage are hampering TAFE teacher recruitment and retention.
“TAFE NSW salaries are just not competitive with teachers in schools or the professions and trades they teach. The five year commitment of funding by the Albanese Government paves the way for the Minns government to bring stability to TAFE NSW in the form of competitive salaries and secure jobs in TAFE NSW.”
Vocational education is the backbone of the NSW economy and crucial to achieving social cohesion and inclusion. The NSW Teachers Federation is heartened by the National Skills Agreement’s focus on economic inclusion for women, mature age Australians, young people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, First Nations people, people with a disability, and regional workers.