​Governments must invest to fix Vocational Training crisis

27 October 2016

All governments must invest more in quality vocational education through TAFEs and apprenticeships, the Australian Education Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said today.

Both unions said the scrapping of the government-funded VET FEE-HELP loans scheme from 2017, after years of rorting by for-profit private providers, should be a catalyst for proper investment in VET to ensure Australians can get the skills they need for work.

AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian said the States and the Commonwealth need to abandon policies that slashed investment in vocational training and shifted costs on to students and apprentices.

“The Australian economy and our next generation of skilled workers need the best training system we can provide,” Mr Bastian said.

“As a nation we should be transitioning away from private training providers which have failed both industry and students.”

AEU Federal TAFE Secretary Pat Forward said that privatisation of VET had failed, and it was time to reverse the decline in funding to TAFEs

“Australia’s vocational education system is in crisis, due to

government which refuse to invest in TAFEs and apprenticeships, while pursuing disastrous privatisation policies,” Ms Forward said.

“The losers from this are Australians who cannot get the quality training they need for their careers.”

“We have seen enrolment in vocational education crash by 11 per cent in the last year alone, as students lost faith in the system.

“The flawed VET FEE-HELP scheme went hand in hand with cuts

to government funding for TAFEs.

“With VET FEE-HELP gone we need state and federal governments to restore funding to TAFEs to ensure Australians have access to quality vocational training.

“At least 70 per cent of all vocational funding must be reserved for TAFEs, so that they are not forced to compete with the for-profit providers who have driven down quality and ripped off taxpayers and students.

The AMWU’s 2016 National Apprentice Roundtable in Sydney today will discuss the crisis in the Australian apprenticeship system and its impact on employment.

The AEU and AMWU will jointly host a roundtable dinner at the TAFE NSW’s restaurant “The Apprentice” which will be addressed by Labor’s shadow minister for Human Services, Senator Doug Cameron.

Both unions said it was clear that leaving vocational training to the market had failed and it was time for governments to recognise their responsibility to provide young Australians with the skills they needed for work.