Labor commits to Free TAFE plan in bid to boost workforce in care economy, including ECEC

Labor commits to Free TAFE plan in bid to boost workforce in care economy, including ECEC

by Jason Roberts

December 07, 2021

Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), has confirmed that his Government will commit $1.2 billion to tackle the skills shortages being experienced across the Australian economy should his party be successful at the next Federal election. 


The National Skills Commission placed early childhood education and care (ECEC) on its Skills Priority List in 2021 noting that the workers were currently in short supply and overall, that the occupation would remain in strong demand for the foreseeable future.


The “Future Made in Australia Skills Plan” will focus on closing the gap on these key areas of skills shortages with new places at vocational training institutions like TAFE and at Universities made available to candidates at zero cost. 


“Labor will provide Australians access to Free TAFE, create more university places and tackle the skill shortages that are holding back our COVID-19 comeback,” Mr Albanese said. 


“This is good policy for jobs, good policy for people looking to train or retrain, and good policy for businesses, which need more skilled workers.”


The details of the proposals are as follows:


  • Free TAFE – 465,000 TAFE places, including 45,000 new TAFE places, will be offered for free to students looking to train in areas currently seeing critical skills gaps including early childhood education and care 


  • New University places – 20,000 new university places will be made available to students looking to study a range of courses, including ECEC and teaching with places prioritised for universities offering more opportunities for under-represented groups such as people in regional, remote and outer-suburban areas, those who are the first in their family to study at university, and First Nations Australians.


In addition, the ALP has committed to investing $50 million via the TAFE Technology Fund to improve IT facilities and $100 million for New Energy Apprenticeships. 


To read Mr Albanese’s speech please click here. To read about the ALP’s ECEC focused election policies please click here