Liberals’ $1 Billion In Cuts To Apprentices = 858 Fewer Apprentices In Oxley

Sharon Bird and Milton Dick today visited Inala TAFE to discuss the drop of apprentices in training in Oxley and the importance of TAFE 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 through the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs.   

These cuts have hit local apprentices hard. 

They have had a devastating impact on apprentices in training in Oxley with numbers falling from 3,260 in June 2014 to 2,402 in March 2015 – a drop of 858 local apprentices. 

In September 2013 there were 417,700 apprentices in training across Australia. Because of the Liberal Government’s savage cuts there are now only 295,300 apprentices in training (September 2015).  

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

The Liberals’ $1 billion of savage cuts include: 

  • Abolishing apprenticeship programs such as mentoring, access and the Apprentice to Business Owner program.

  • Replaced apprentice support with apprentice debt by abolishing the Tools for Your Trade Program.

  • Rebadging and cutting funding to Australian Apprenticeship Centres.

  • Cutting Joint Group Training funding.

  • Cutting support for adult apprentices. 

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.

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

The Liberals have an appalling track record in the vocational education sector so far – they cannot be trusted with our TAFEs. 

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has revitalised TAFE in Queensland by funding the Rescuing TAFE initiative. This $34 million program includes boosted funding for extra subsidised training places, increased student support places and up to 100 extra teaching and support areas. The Government are also conducting a thorough ten year Strategic Training Asset Management Plan, to allow TAFE Qld to plan for the jobs of the future in areas of need, which will ensure that TAFE remains the premium public provider of VET 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 VET sector and ensure TAFE’s viability and strength into the future. 

For the first time there will be a clear description at the national level on the role and purpose of public provision – it will describe what government expects from TAFE as the public provider and will make clear what makes it different from other providers.  

Having defined the unique role of TAFE as our public provider, the negotiation with the States and Territories will work to deliver on this by providing quarantined and guaranteed funding to TAFE.  

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

The vocational education and training sector deserves a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to policy-making to ensure it is fit for the critical task of preparing Australians for the jobs of the future. 

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. 

MONDAY, 16 MAY 2016