The Turnbull Government is already well down the path of significant reforms to Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector that will make it stronger, boost participation and make it an equal option for young people as a pathway to a rewarding career.
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said the VET sector needs action, not reviews, and that’s what the Coalition is doing.
“The irony is that Labor is planning to hold a review into fixing the long list of problems they created in VET when last in office,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
“Labor slashed employer incentives leading to a dramatic decline in apprentice and trainee numbers and forced TAFE into stronger competition with private training providers for funding.
“The result was that apprentice and trainee numbers have nearly halved and TAFE’s share of VET students dropped from 60 per cent to 49 per cent,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
“And we can’t forget Labor’s disastrous expansion of the VET FEE HELP Scheme that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars as dodgy training providers rorted the system leaving vulnerable people with debts but no job.
“The Turnbull Government has restored public confidence through the introduction of VET Student Loans and has introduced a series of important reforms to strengthen the sector,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
“We’ve announced a $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund to create 300,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships with TAFE expected to play a key role in providing the training.
“The Coalition recently launched the $60 million Industry Specialist Mentoring program that will boost the apprenticeship completion rate by providing intensive support to trainees in priority industries and industries undergoing structural change.
“Last year we launched the real skills for real careers initiative to raise the status of VET as an equal pathway to a good job and career, and we’re also developing a National Career Education Strategy so that school students get the full story on their post school options, including through vocational education and apprenticeships.
“The Turnbull Government recognises the importance of VET as a pathway to good jobs and to provide the skilled workforce Australia needs for future growth,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.
“The Coalition has not cut a single dollar from TAFE funding and in fact the Productivity Commission Report on Government Services showed Federal Government support of state and territory VET sectors has increased by 13 per cent over the past five years.
“Tanya Plibersek needs to explain whether Labor will reintroduce their failed VET FEE HELP Scheme and allow dodgy training providers back into the system and will they take funding from universities to pay TAFEs?
“At a meeting of Commonwealth nation education ministers this week, there’s been real interest in the reforms Australia is undertaking in our VET sector, which has been recognised as world class.
“We have a clear plan to build a strong vocational education and training system and it’s time Labor supported our important reforms, including the Skilling Australians Fund that will create thousands of new job opportunities, and repair the damage they caused.”