Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said today that the Turnbull Government is significantly boosting funding to increase Australia’s skilled workforce and fix the mess left by Labor in vocational education and apprenticeships.
Claims by Labor’s spokesman on Skills, TAFE and Apprenticeships, Doug Cameron, of Coalition cuts are misleading and conveniently fail to mention the damage Labor did to the sector when last in Government.
“When Labor last implemented a grand plan for VET, it led to the biggest ever annual fall in apprentice numbers and a reduction in TAFE’s share of vocational education students,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
“In the first year of the five-year funding plan from June 2012 to June 2013, with Bill Shorten as Employment Minister, apprentice and trainee numbers collapsed by 110,000 or 22 per cent.
“It followed $1.2 billion in cuts to employer incentives to take on an apprentice.
“Labor’s plan also opened TAFE up to stronger competition with the private sector for funding and its share of vocational education students fell from 60 per cent to 49 per cent,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
The funding agreement that Labor committed the Commonwealth to ended in June and is being replaced by the Turnbull Government’s Skilling Australians Fund.
“The $1.5 billion the Government is contributing to the Fund over four years will triple the amount the Commonwealth is providing for better training outcomes than what was delivered under Labor’s deal,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
“We will create an additional 300,000 apprentices and trainees over the next four years, providing new opportunities for young Australians and ensuring industries have the skilled workforce they need for the future.
“The Coalition has also introduced Trade Support Loans to help apprentices with cost-of-living expenses, established the Australian Apprentice Support Network and put industry at the centre of training development through Industry Reference Committees.
“I recently announced the real skills for real careers initiative to promote the value of vocational education and apprenticeships as a pathway to a career as part of my commitment to raising the status of VET.”