TAFE cuts are exacerbating the ECEC workforce crisis, AEU says
The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is one of several sectors and industries being placed in jeopardy by cuts to the TAFE system, the Australian Education Union (AEU) has said.
Along with ECEC, IT, carpentry and plumbing are at risk of significant workforce shortages, the Union said, which may in turn undermine the strength of Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
An investment in TAFE, AEU Deputy Federal President Meredith Peace said, will ensure that there is a sustainable supply of highly trained workers as well as supporting people to gain the skills they require to get good jobs.
“TAFE has suffered over $3 billion in Federal Government funding cuts since 2013,” Ms Peace added, sharing her belief that poor quality training alternatives are contributing to challenges faced in ECEC and other sectors, with these alternatives being funded by the Government, rather than TAFE receiving the funding.
“TAFE is the centre of our vocational education system. Public TAFE institutions are ideally placed to train the workforces our nation needs to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
The Federal Government’s Skills Priority List shows 153 professions with current workforce shortages and projects an additional 144 will experience moderate to strong levels of future demand by 2025, including ECEC.
Ms Peace’s comments were made on National TAFE Day, acknowledged on 11 August, with the Union inviting the community to support its Rebuild with TAFE campaign and sign an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for a guaranteed minimum of 70 per cent of total government funding for the public TAFE system.
“In order to ensure these sectors and industries have the highly trained workforce they require to function effectively, Australia requires a properly funded TAFE system,” Ms Peace said.
“Without proper investment in TAFE, the Federal Government will fail to provide the education and training workers need to get real jobs. They will also fail to ensure critical industries have the highly skilled workforces they need to deliver the services we all rely on.
To sign the open letter, please see here.