A Victorian Labor Government will invest in the TAFE system to ensure that all Victorians have affordable access to education and training, Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney said today.
Ms Tierney said the commitment to fund TAFE was the central plank of Labor’s Plan for Jobs and Growth, released today.
“The community in Warrnambool deserve the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to secure employment so they can provide a future for themselves and their families,” Ms Tierney said.
“TAFE plays an essential role in the future of Victoria. It needs to be adequately supported to ensure that workers, families, communities, industry and the economy in this state don’t suffer.
“The Baillieu Government has torn the heart out of TAFE in Victoria. This has caused significant pain across the state and Labor is committed to making sure the doors of TAFE’s remain open to all Victorians.
“Young people seeking skills to get them started on a path of employment, retrenched workers people seeking re-training, communities that need local employers and an economy that needs a skill base to grow have all been let down by the Baillieu Government.”
Ms Tierney said that funding TAFE will be Labor’s first budget priority, with additional funding coming from savings obtained from the crack-down on unscrupulous providers.
“This means that TAFEs will, once again, be able to offer essential support services to students that need them without having to raise fees or cut courses,” Mr Andrews said.
“It will also save VET programs so young Victorians, who rely on an alternative to VCE, have a link between school and vocational education.”
Key elements of the skills package include:
• Reinstate funding to ensure TAFEs can provide student support service and offer extra help to students with a disability, student from disadvantaged background or those requiring literacy and numeracy development.
• Providing an automatic right to government-subsidised training for redundant workers to re-skill, regardless of prior qualifi¬cations.
• Introducing a target of at least 10 per cent of the workforce on projects of state significance to be made up of apprentices.
• Properly funding extensive and rigorous auditing of training providers and the power to close down unscrupulous operators.
• Developing effective industry advisory bodies, whose membership comprises key industry employer organisations, trade unions and professional associations.
• Supporting TAFEs to establish one-stop-shop Industry Skills Centres, which will liaise directly with a broad cross-section of local industries, co-locate training facilities, and provide employers, apprentices and trainees with a single point of contact around their training needs.
• Establishing a Skills Commissioner to provide oversight of the training market and to develop and access the best possible data to better determine future skill shortage areas and appropriate workforce training needs.
• Referring powers of registration and regulation of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to the Australian Government.
• Introducing separate quality control requirements for government-funded contracts by introducing rigorous entry requirements for RTOs seeking government-funded training.
• Reforming recognition of prior learning procedures to ensure that only genuine competencies are recognised and that Government training funds are legitimately expended.