Employment white paper: TAFE workforce must be supported to deliver initiatives

The Federal Government’s ambitious plans to boost Australian’s skills and knowledge, outlined in the employment white paper today, will require a properly supported TAFE teaching workforce.

The Australian Education Union welcomed the additional funding for the National Skills Agreements to deliver greater resources for TAFE, including $31 million for six TAFE Centres of Excellence.

“Over the past decade, we have seen an alarming drop in apprenticeship completions and the erosion of TAFE. This has contributed to the skills shortages our nation is currently experiencing,” AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said.

“The funding for TAFE included in the new employment white paper will help Australians gain the critical skills and knowledge required for the jobs of our future economy, and help restore TAFE as the anchor of our national vocational education system.

“However, the plans to boost apprenticeships and turbocharge TAFE must be complemented by appropriate investment in and support for the TAFE workforce.

“The decade of neglect of TAFE under the previous government has deeply impacted TAFE teachers, who experience unsustainably high workloads, high rates of casualisation and poor pay and conditions. TAFE teaching itself is an area of workforce shortage.

“TAFE teachers need better pathways to permanent work, higher pay and to be funded to deliver courses and assess student work within paid hours.

“We encourage the Federal Government to work with the states and territories to support and boost Australia’s TAFE teaching workforce, in order to deliver the goals of the employment white paper,” Ms Haythorpe said.