Liberals’ $1 Billion In Cuts = 672 Fewer Apprentices In Dobell

Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, and Labor candidate for Dobell, Emma McBride, visited Wyong TAFE today to discuss the drop of apprentices in training in Dobell and the important role TAFE plays in training and retraining Australia’s workforce.

The Liberals have cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion in cuts to apprentices by abolishing the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs. 

These cuts have hit local apprentices in training in Dobell hard, with numbers of apprentices falling from 2,323 in June 2014 to 1,651in March 2015 – a drop of 672 local apprentices.

That’s almost 30 per cent less apprentices in Dobell.

In September 2013 there were 417,700 apprentices in training across Australia. Because of Malcolm Turnbull’s savage cuts there are now only 295,300 apprentices in training (Australian vocational education and training statistics, September quarter, 2015). 

That is 122,400 fewer apprentices in training across the country.  

Before the last election, Tony Abbott promised that the Liberals would provide better support for Australia’s apprentices – instead they have cut funding and defaulted to their fallback position of relying heavily on 457 visas without also investing in skills and training.

Last year, on National TAFE Day, Bill Shorten and Sharon Bird announced Labor’s plan to back TAFE into the future by developing a National Priority Plan to place TAFE squarely as the public provider within the vocational education and training sector and ensure TAFE’s viability and strength into the future. 

Labor has also announced a full, evidence-based review of the vocational education and training system to build a stronger sector and weed out dodgy providers and student rip-offs.

Training the workers of the future is a critical issue for our economy, for productivity and for communities. We need to put in place the next generation of skilled tradespeople to take on the jobs that are emerging and to ensure that we can meet future workforce needs.

It is vital that we train and retrain our workforce to deliver on improving the participation, productivity, innovation and growth efforts required for the nation.

TUESDAY, 24 MAY 2016