Last week, CCA Chair David Fuller and CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, attended “Labor’s National Jobs and Skills Summit” at the Canberra Institute of Technology, along with about 100 industry, education, union and business leaders. Following an introductory speech by the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, the Summit focussed on the themes of creating a vocational education training sector for the future, apprenticeships and traineeships, and developing a long-term vision for education and training.
Aside from Bill Shorten, a number of Labor front-benchers participated, including:
- Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Education
- Kate Ellis, Shadow Minister TAFE and Vocational Education
- Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minister for Employment
- Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships
- Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for the Future of Work
- Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Immigration
As well as the two Canberra MPs: Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-profits; and Gai Brodtmann.
CCA CEO Don Perlgut made two points during the first morning session:
- “It’s not all about TAFE”: While CCA applauds Labor’s policies in relation to education generally and vocational education and training specifically, community education providers deliver 5% of accredited Australian vocational education and training VET each year, and a significantly higher percentage of VET at Certificate levels I and II. Despite this presence in the VET space, Labor policies do not yet recognise the community not-for-profit sector.
- Regional and rural VET: The community sector plays an important role in VET in regional and rural Australia, where VET participation rates run at least 50% higher than in capital cities. Community providers average about 10% of VET delivery in these areas, and more than 20% in Victoria.