The word is in – all sides of politics support building Australian skills

The word is in: Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s Budget in Reply speech (8 October) confirms that all major Australian political parties now support additional support for post-secondary education, especially vocational education and training (VET).

Albanese’s speech headlined two relevant phrases: “Labor knows education is the key to opportunity,” and “Creating jobs for today – and training our people for tomorrow.”

The speech outlined a “plan for a Future Made in Australia,” that involves “a mass mobilisation of resources, an across-the-board strategy” that lists job creation as the first priority, and training and skills as the second priority.

The speech also outlined an “Australian Skills Guarantee,” a concept that Labor had not previously promoted. “On every major work site receiving Federal Government funding, one out of 10 workers employed will be an apprentice, a trainee or cadet. These common sense measures will train tens of thousands of workers,” Albanese said. He also noted that Labor “will also consider how this principle can be extended” to other Government-subsidised “sectors like aged care, disability care and childcare.”

“Our schools, TAFE and vocational education and universities are vital national institutions,” the Labor leader said.

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Comment

“CCA welcomes Federal Labor’s support for Australian skills. This means that all major Australian political parties have committed to improving VET. We now have a national consensus that economic recovery from the pandemic will be led by skills. The important thing is how we go about it, part of that is to ensure that not-for-profit community providers play a crucial role,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CCA CEO.

“We look forward to receiving more details about Labor’s proposed Australian Skills Guarantee. This is the moment for Australian to reverse the long-term decline of investment in skills development,” Dr Perlgut said.

“We note that Labor has made a specific commitment to TAFE. CCA strongly supports TAFE as Australian’s anchor VET institution, however such support should not be in place of – or without the contribution of – the not-for-profit adult and community education providers, which have such a key role to play, especially with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners,” Dr Perlgut said.

“It is important that Labor also acknowledge the crucial contributions of Australia’s for-purpose sector – the not-for-profit organisations that do some of the heaviest lifting with society’s vulnerable communities and individuals,” Dr Perlgut said.

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