January 04, 2022

For nearly a decade, the Coalition Government has cut TAFE and slashed apprenticeships.

Today there are 85,000 fewer apprenticeships and traineeships compared to 2013. This is despite one in four Australian businesses experiencing critical skills shortages and 2 million Australians who are either looking for a job or want to work more hours.

An Albanese Labor Government will give Australians studying in areas of skills shortage access to Free TAFE.

This investment will mean more secure, well-paid jobs, and deliver the pipeline of skills Australia needs to drive future economic growth.

Over 465,000 Free TAFE places will be made available over four years, including 45,000 new places.

Labor will invest $621 million over the forward estimates in Free TAFE, including $50 million for a TAFE Technology Fund.

Free TAFE is good for business and good for workers. Nine out of ten jobs of the future will require a VET qualification or a university degree.

TAFE graduates also earn an average of $19,000 a year more than those without qualifications and add billions to the economy, including $85 billion in 2019 alone.

Labor’s plan for Free TAFE will:

✅Help rebuild industries hit hardest by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism, as well as meet current and future needs in the care economy, including jobs like child care, aged care, disability care, nursing and community services.

Provide more opportunities for apprentices and trainees, and fill skills shortage gaps like those in trades and construction, resources, digital and cyber security, new energy and advanced manufacturing.

Mean more opportunities for school leavers, workers wanting to retrain or upskill, and unpaid carers – who are predominantly women – to get back into the workforce.

Secure the future of vocational education in Australia by protecting TAFE. Labor will ensure at least 70 per cent of Commonwealth vocational education funding goes to public TAFE.

Deliver new and upgraded IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and tele-health simulators through the TAFE Technology Fund.

Labor will work with the states and territories to deliver Free TAFE and prioritise courses in areas of skills shortage and future demand.

Free TAFE is part of Labor’s $1.2 billion Future Made in Australia Skills Plan.

A Future Made in Australia Skills Plan also includes a $100 million investment in 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships and a $10 million New Energy Skills Program.