ACT Government slashes funding for Cert 3 in ECE by 64 per cent
The Australian Capital Territory is in danger of a long-term skills shortage, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has said, following “significant cuts to funding for students across a range of qualifications”.
Funding for students has been cut by 30 to 50 per cent in key areas such as early childhood education (ECE), digital media and community services. Funding for the popular Certificate III in Early Childhood Education has fallen from $5,960 in 2019 to $2,150 in 2020 – a drop of 64 per cent.
The ‘User Choice’ and ‘Skilled Capital’ funding initiatives in the ACT have been simultaneously cut for key qualifications across vital sectors such as ECE, ITECA said, adding that the changes “came as a surprise to quality vocational education and training providers across the Territory”.
ITECA claim that there was no consultation with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector prior to the changes being implemented, with the changes “announced one day and coming into force the very next”.
The main impact for the early childhood education and care sector centres on the Certificate III qualification, where user choice funding has been split into ‘new’ and ‘existing’ worker categories, with funding for new workers in some courses dropping between 30 and 50 per cent, and funding for existing workers in 360 courses being dropped to $0.
In addition, the ‘skilled capital’ list has dropped from 107 funded courses to just 36. “In an environment in which many employers across the Territory are struggling to find skilled workers, it is stunning that the ACT Government has made such significant reductions to the support provided to students looking to vocational education and training to gain new positions,” an ITECA spokesperson said.
ITECA has written to the ACT Government Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, seeking for the cuts to be reversed with immediate effect, and a meeting of ITECA ACT Branch members is scheduled later in the week to discuss the changes.