Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation Committee<
Inquiry into Australian Technical Colleges (Flexibility in Achieving Australias Skills needs) Bill 2005. July 2005
1. The ACTU supports the injection of additional funding specified in the Bill into vocational education and training. The direction of funding into pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training in schools is welcome as are the increased options for VET in schools. This funding will assist in addressing one aspect of the array of contributors to the skill shortage.
2. The ACTU is concerned however that the particular use of the funding on the establishment of specialised technical colleges does not optimise the use of the funding. We are also concerned that there is no allocation of funding to other aspects of need in the VET system such as growth funding to TAFEs.
3. The establishment of special technical colleges is, in our submission, an inefficient use of funds and not the most appropriate allocation of funds given other areas of need.
4. In addition the ACTU is concerned that the Bill fails to address any issues with respect to equity of access and outcomes of the colleges. It is possible that the technical colleges, because of their emphasis on traditional trades, will become schools that attract boys and, as such, disenfranchise young women in regional centres considering careers in the traditional trades areas. Moreover the Bill fails to mention equity in the achievement of its object.