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12 Aug 2021


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]


Background note:

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:

  • Child care workers – Need 39,000 additional educators, including 9,000 additional Early Childhood Teachers, by 2023 according to ACECQA.
  • Electricians – 18,400 (10.9% increase)
  • Aged and disabled carers – 54,700 (24.7% increase)
  • Chefs – 18,300 (19.4% increase)
  • Education Aides - 14,500 (14.6% increase)
  • Information Officers – 8,200 (12.1% increase)
  • Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers – 8,300 (23.1% increase)
  • Carpenters and joiners - 10,200 (8.1% increase)
  • Plumbers – 5,800 (6.3% increase)
  • Hairdressers - 3,600 (6.0% increase)
  • Beauty Therapists – 2,400 (7.7% increase)
  • Medical Technicians - 4,800 (14.4% increase)
  • ICT support technicians - 18,300 (19.4% increase)
  • Welfare support workers - 11,000 (17.7% increase)

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).