For all media enquiries and additional information please contact the AEU via [email protected].
11 August 2021
Critical industries like childcare, ICT, carpentry and plumbing are at risk of significant workforce shortages, which would undermine the strength of Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery according to the Australian Education Union.
Investment in TAFE would help ensure a sustainable supply of highly trained workers and support people to gain the skills they require to get good jobs, Australian Education Union Deputy Federal President Meredith Peace said.
“TAFE has suffered over $3 billion in Federal Government funding cuts since 2013. Instead of adequate TAFE investment, the Federal Coalition has used taxpayers’ funds for poor quality private training colleges and the failing job network.
“TAFE is the centre of our vocational education system. Public TAFE institutions are ideally placed to train the workforces our nation needs to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Federal Government’s Skills Priority List shows 153 professions with current workforce shortages and projects an additional 144 will experience moderate to strong levels of future demand by 2025.
Analysis of Federal Government’s Labour Market Information Portal shows a shortage of more than 207,600 workers in the next five years in critical industries including childcare, aged and disability care, hospitality, carpentry, plumbing, and ICT.
“In order to ensure these industries have the highly trained workforce they require to function effectively, Australia requires a properly funded TAFE system,” Ms Peace said.
“Today, on National TAFE Day, the AEU is inviting the community to support our Rebuild with TAFE campaign and sign an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for a guaranteed minimum of 70 per cent of total government funding for the public TAFE system.
“Without proper investment in TAFE, the Federal Government will fail to provide the education and training workers need to get real jobs. They will also fail to ensure critical industries have the highly skilled workforces they need to deliver the services we all rely on.
Media contact: Alys Gagnon, 0438 379 977, [email protected]
Jobs with shortages and strong future demand
The current Skills Priority List includes 153 professions with current shortages, 57 of these will also have strong future demand and another 87 are classified as having moderate future demand to 2025.
Among occupations with strong future demand in the five years from November 2020 to November 2025 according to projections in the Federal Governments Labour Market Information Portal are:
All these jobs are at qualification levels that TAFE delivers - skill level 4 (cert II or III) to skill level 2 (Diploma or Advanced Diploma).
Every year, National TAFE Day provides the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the public TAFE system as a highly regarded educational institution which has supported and provided opportunities for individuals, communities and employers for decades.
It’s also a time to demand the politicians properly fund and support TAFE.
Due to COVID-19 activities this year will primarily be online. See some of our suggested actions are below and more actions will be added on 11 August.
With hundreds of campuses all around the country, TAFE provides high quality vocational education for all and is perfectly positioned to help Australia rebuild, but it urgently needs guaranteed funding to do so. The Morrison government is failing to ensure TAFE has the funding needed. Add your name to our letter to the Prime Minister here.
The lack of support for TAFE impacted deeply even before the COVID crisis, because TAFE needs funding to provide skills, jobs, purpose and opportunities to millions of Australians and to keep our economy strong.
Now more than ever we need to invest in a positive future for all of us.
That’s why we need you to take action to #RebuildWithTAFE and tell all federal politicians to guarantee TAFE funding for a positive future.
There are a number of things you can do to take action as part of this important day.
Before National TAFE day
On National TAFE Day
The Australian Education Union (AEU) is calling on governments across the country to make TAFE their first priority as Australia looks to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle the country’s skills crisis.
The AEU launched the ‘Rebuild with TAFE’ campaign in Canberra today and used the launch to call on governments to properly fund TAFE and maximise the system’s potential to assist with the economic re-build, re-skill and upskill workers, address the apprentice shortage, reduce youth unemployment and provide career pathways for all Australians.
AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the TAFE system is a hugely valuable asset that is being neglected by the Federal Government and many state governments.
“We’re launching the Rebuild with TAFE campaign because we’re sick of governments and politicians putting TAFE last and letting a critical part of Australia’s economy and education sector waste away.”
TAFE has seen its funding cut by $3 billion since 2013 and is also suffering from the Federal Government’s privatisation agenda which has driven people away from TAFE and increased the amount of low-quality private training providers.
“All over Australia TAFE institutes are struggling with the impact of these funding cuts and poor policy decisions resulting in the loss of jobs and the cutting of courses. This is disastrous for the communities they support and must be addressed urgently.”
Australia is facing many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as the public provider of vocational education TAFE is best placed to address those challenges if it is properly funded and supported.
“Australia currently has a shortage of 200,000 apprentices while at the same time we also have plenty of Australians who are out of work. Rebuilding with TAFE will help our unemployed to re-train, upskill or get an apprenticeship and gain meaningful employment.
“The National Cabinet itself has determined that skills is one of the six key priorities for the government, yet the Federal Government won’t properly fund the public provider of vocational education. That doesn’t make any sense.”
TAFE is responsible for $92.5 billion per year in annual economic benefit to Australia, 16 times more than the annual cost to maintain the provider, but these longstanding and ongoing benefits would be permanently lost if governments fail to rebuild with TAFE.
A 2020 national survey found that 94 per cent of Australians want to see more federal funding for TAFE and research has consistently found that Australians see TAFE as a vital part of Australia’s education sector that can provide career, social and economic opportunities for people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Proper funding for TAFE will increase available courses, increase the number of campuses, and ensure high quality vocational education that will improve the lives of millions of Australians.
“Australians trust and support TAFE and know the system can help re-build our economy, but we need our governments and politicians to show that same support by investing in TAFE to rebuild Australia socially and economically.
“TAFE touches so many aspects of our society and economy from the arts and fashion, to construction, health and early childhood education, to opportunities for young people in rural and regional areas, and we cannot afford to lose it.
“As we head to the next federal election, all political parties must commit to rebuilding with TAFE and we’ll be campaigning to make sure they understand how important this issue is to our communities.”
A Fifty Acres-Pollinate Survey among a nationally representative sample of 1001 Australians aged 18+ has found that almost all Australians feel it’s important that federal funding to TAFE is increased in order to help recovery from the recession.
94% of those surveyed said it was important that federal government increase funding to TAFE for the post-recession rebuild and recovery, with 45% saying it was “very important”. Just 2% said it was not important.
Quotes attributable to Meredith Peace, Federal Deputy President of the Australian Education Union:
“This survey vindicates our call for the Federal Government to abandon the market model of vocational education and immediately increase TAFE funding.”
“The people of Australia trust and respect TAFE and it is time for the Scott Morrison government to show the same trust and respect by providing TAFE the funding it needs.”
“TAFE is perfectly positioned to be a critical institution in the post-COVID-19 rebuild and recovery of Australia – the public recognises this, so why doesn’t Scott Morrison?”
“We’ve just had a federal budget that was silent on TAFE and provided absolutely no new funding. Why is the Morrison government so ideologically opposed to doing what almost all Australian’s see as common sense – boost funding to TAFE for the sake of Australia’s recovery?”
How important is it that the federal government increase funding to TAFE for the post-recession rebuild and recovery? (%)
MEDIA CONTACT: MEREDITH PEACE, 0425 743 961
About Fifty Acres-Pollinate Poll
The Fifty Acres-Pollinate Poll is a resource for serious journalism and not-for-profit advocacy in Australia - leading media outlets and NFPs are invited to submit questions and gratis that will form part of the fortnightly polls. The partnership between Canberra’s leading engagement agency Fifty Acres and strategic research consultancy, Pollinate, is a new entrant in the Australian polling landscape in 2020 and takes a very different approach to ascertain how Australians think and feel about a range of issues.
The poll is an online survey conducted amongst 1,000 Australians aged 18+. The poll sample is nationally representative with quotas based on 2016 ABS statistics on key demographics including age, gender & region.