Labor delivers on jobs and skills - COAG agreement to help $116,000 more NSW students finish training

Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, welcomed the Gillard Labor Government’s announcement of an extra $561 million for NSW vocational education and training, helping an extra 116,000 NSW students finish TAFE and other courses in the Illawarra and around the State.

The extra NSW funds are part of a national $1.75bn skills package agreed between Commonwealth and State and territory leaders at COAG on 13 April 2012.

Nationwide, around 375,000 more students will be able to complete qualifications over the next five years, including 116,000 in NSW.

“This is about more money and more training right where it’s needed – right here in Wollongong,” Ms Bird said.

“State unemployment is low, but we need to do more locally on youth jobs and to help other workers switch careers.

“Local families have told me we need more Wollongong TAFE places and more trade apprenticeships, so our school-leavers can get skills in trades, business, retail and IT.

“We’ve heard that message, and we’re delivering – with an extra $561m for NSW to give 116,000 more NSW students the chance to complete their qualifications.

Under the State and Federal agreement reached at COAG:

• The Gillard Government will provide an extra $561.6m to NSW to accelerate skills reform, helping an extra 116,000 NSW students complete their qualifications in the next five years;

• State and Federal Governments would deliver a National Training Entitlement, giving working age Australians access to a government-subsidised training place;

• Up to 60,000 vocational education students a year would have access to interest-free loans to cover upfront tuition costs for diploma and higher level vocational qualifications; and

• The Federal Government will launch a My Skills website to give students and employers more information on courses and outcomes across different training providers.

“More skills funding means more access to local jobs,” Ms Bird said.

“That’s good news for Wollongong and good news for local families.”