The Jobs and Skills Summit held at the start of September saw our newly elected Federal Labor Government invite nearly 150 representatives to work collaboratively in addressing current and future workforce shortages in Australia. Attendees included employers, training providers, community groups and unions — all committed to finding solutions.
The Summit covered 5 broad themes:
- maintaining full employment and growing productivity
- boosting job security and wages
- lifting participation and reducing barriers to employment
- delivering high-quality labour force through skills, training & migration
- maximising opportunities in the industries of the future
The Summit provided an opportunity to share ideas on how we can we provide work opportunities for everyone who wants it, make workplaces fair for everyone, remove barriers, ensure women can get equal pay and the same opportunities as male counterparts, and ensure we have the right education, skills and training for the right jobs.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese opened the Summit by announcing an agreement between the Commonwealth and every State and Territory Government to create an additional 180,000 fee-free TAFE places for 2023:
“This is a $1.1 billion package – and we’ve agreed to share the costs between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories. We will continue to co-operate on the design of a long-term National Skills Agreement, and indeed we have agreed to the principles that will shape it. But in recognition of the urgent challenges facing our nation, we are taking action now – with a billion-dollar training blitz, driven by public TAFE.”
These new places are in addition to the 465,000 fee-free TAFE places announced prior to the 2022 Federal election.
The Summit provided several outcomes directly benefiting TAFE:
- A $1 billion one-year National Skills Agreement that will provide additional funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023, while a longer-term agreement that drives sector reform and supports women’s workforce participation is negotiated.
- The acceleration of the delivery of 465,000 additional fee-free TAFE places, with 180,000 to be delivered next year, and with costs shared with the states and territories on a 50:50 basis.
- Under the one-year National Skills Agreement, $50 million to modernise TAFE technology infrastructure and $24 million to support vulnerable.
Given the skill shortages facing Australia, the AEU welcomes these announcements from the Federal Government, and its recognition that TAFE is perfectly positioned to play a key role in our economic recovery. With a commitment to funding at a Federal and State level, TAFE can continue to provide high quality vocational education to help Australia rebuild following the pandemic, address skills shortages in the labour market and help ensure our future
The AEU will continue to work with the Federal Government on the design of a National Skills Agreement. It is our hope that this initial announcement of investment in TAFE is a precursor to the October Federal Budget delivering a minimum of 70% of vocational education and training funding to TAFE.
Everyone has the right to access high quality vocational education delivered by TAFE. Only when properly funded can it provide more course options, adequate teaching staff and personnel, state-of-the-art equipment, and greater opportunities for students. This is all possible when TAFE is recognised as the anchor institution of vocational education for Australia.
“TAFE is perfectly positioned to play a
key role in our economic recovery.”
The Jobs and Skills Summit has demonstrated positive steps in that direction, and we look forward to continuing our campaign to #RebuildWithTAFE.