AEU welcomes economist report which shows the value of TAFE and supports union position

AEU welcomes economist report which shows the value of TAFE and supports union position

by Freya Lucas

April 20, 2022

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has welcomed a report from economist Alison Pennington and the Centre for Future Work which has shown the impact of de-regulation on the vocational education and training (VET) sector. 

 

Fragmentation and Photo Ops: The Failures of Australia’s Skills Policy Through COVID shows that enrolments in accredited VET courses are down by more than half a million and that initiatives such as JobTrainer incentivise apprentice ‘churn’, exacerbating low completion rates.

 

Importantly for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector the report shows that much of the decline in apprenticeship completion and attempt is in sectors with high demand for staff such as aged care and ECEC. 

 

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe expressed her frustration that these traditionally feminised sectors have been deprioritised in favour of traditional male, ‘high-vis tradie’ occupations. In the year to June 2021 three in every five new apprentices and trainees were men, a statistic which supports her position. 

 

“There are 173,000 fewer apprentices now than in 2012, and apprenticeship completions have collapsed, down by 64 per cent,” she added.

 

“The AEU campaigned strongly against the mass de-regulation of vocational education and training in 2012. At the time we said it would lead to lower course completions and more low-quality, privately provided short-term courses.” 

 

“The report highlights how private providers are abandoning regional Australia as well as focussing on short, micro-credentials and non-accredited training programs,” Ms Haythorpe continued, expressing concern that VET funding is being funnelled to private providers at the expense of accredited TAFE teaching and learning programs designed to ensure graduates are ready for the workplace. 

 

“TAFE should be the anchor point for vocational education and training,” she continued. 

 

“TAFE provides strong education-to-jobs pathways and more comprehensive, higher quality and accredited qualifications. It is TAFE that is best placed to rebuild Australia’s skills pipeline. Proper funding for TAFE will increase available courses, see students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and increased teachers, and ensure high quality vocational education that will improve the lives of millions of Australians.”

 

To access the report please see here

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