Local MPs Jill Hall and Pat Conroy were pleased to host a visit by Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, today.
The Shadow Minister was in Belmont to meet with members of the community who have been deeply disturbed by recent confirmation from a leaked Cabinet document that lists the west side of Belmont TAFE for sale.
Sharon Bird said that with youth unemployment at roughly 15 per cent in Newcastle and the Hunter it was imperative that Governments invested in TAFEs rather than shutting them down.
“Back in June, Bill Shorten and I announced that a Shorten Labor Government would guarantee that a portion of funding for vocational education is dedicated to TAFE and formed part of Labor’s plan to make skills and training a national priority, by working cooperatively with states and territories.
“This announcement will ensure that our kids, people returning to work and workers in areas in transition, such as Newcastle, will get the opportunities and the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
Jill Hall said TAFE plays a vital role in providing quality training and skills in addition to access to critical courses that no other provider delivers.
“TAFE has a history of providing the highest level of training to our apprentices and it is a link between school and work. Students who complete their training through TAFE are sort after from employers.
The Shadow Minister then met with stakeholders and students at a forum in Cardiff, which Pat Conroy said was important to increase understanding of how the sector can best serve the needs of the region.
“Small businesses are telling me that there are quality issues that need to be addressed. Ultimately it costs business money to bring undertrained apprentices up to scratch, and when you think of vocations like child care there is a compelling argument that quality training must be assured.”
“Reskilling is a critical part of transitioning the workforce from industries like mining and manufacturing which are under pressure. Higher education pathways are particularly important, so access to adult education courses and the HSC syllabus is really important. We cannot expect to meet the workforce needs of our economy if we do not guarantee funding for the TAFE system.”
In addition to the TAFE funding guarantee, Labor will work with Premiers and Chief Ministers on a comprehensive National Priority Plan which properly defines and supports TAFE and places it at the centre of our vocational education and training sector.
Labor is backing TAFE and training because we believe every Australian – young or old, from the city or the bush – has an equal right to share in the jobs and opportunities of the future.
MONDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2015