The ACTU welcomes Labor’s Future Made in Australia Skills Plan which will see a commitment to free TAFE for those enrolling in courses that would fill skill shortages and a reinvestment in Australian university and TAFE that will replace places lost under successive Coalition Governments.

Labor’s commitment of $50 million to establish a TAFE technology fund to assist in the digitalisation of the sector and plan for 70 per cent of all skills training funding to go to TAFE is also welcome.

Since the Coalition first came to power in 2013 we have lost 85,000 apprenticeships and traineeships and university offers have fallen every year. As 9 out of 10 future jobs will require a university or VET qualification it’s positive to see Labor committed to more TAFE and university places.

Australia needs a fair job transition to renewable energy and Labor is taking the right approach by investing $100 million to new energy apprenticeships and support for workers to complete their training.

The union movement looks forward to working with the ALP alongside industry to develop a clear framework and qualification system for micro-credentials in the national training and skills system that are transferable and stackable.

Labor’s policy is in stark contrast of the Morrison Government’s approach of stripping billions from TAFEs and university, and filling skill shortages by bringing in migrants on temporary visas to face systemic exploitation.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Labor’s election commitment for free TAFE to fill skills shortages will provide a pathway to secure employment and fuel the pandemic recovery.

“Billions have been stripped from TAFEs by successive Coalition Government’s and its imperative that we have a government committed to uplifting the sector and ensuring more Australians have opportunities.

“The pandemic has been hard on all of us, and we need a government that has a recovery plan focused on helping Australians get ahead by providing more opportunities through apprenticeship, TAFE and university funding.

“The Morrison Governments plan for filling skill shortages is in stark contrast of Labor – they strip billions from TAFE and bring in vulnerable migrant workers on temporary visas that routinely see them exploited.”