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What did they promise? Labor on education and apprenticeships

Labor went to the election promising that it would improve the role education, training and apprenticeships in paving the way to opportunity and secure employment for Australians.


On the one hand, it says this will mean improving access to education and training through TAFE and universities, so that people are better positioned to obtain good secure jobs.


On the other hand, it will mean aligning training with skills shortages, like those necessary during the Covid-19 recovery or in emerging areas, like the need for more green skills.


Labor also wants to ‘rebuild skills and training’ pathways, including apprenticeships.


Saying there are 70,000 less apprenticeships than when it left office in 2013, Labor wants to support future growth in line with the need for secure employment and a thriving economy.


What are the promises that will support these aims? Here's how they plan to do it.


Fee Free TAFE


Labor will cover the cost of 465,000 TAFE places - including 45,000 new places - as part of a Fee Free TAFE policy to 'help people find decent jobs and businesses find employees'. 


It has promised to ensure that at least 70% of all public funding for the vocational education and training industry goes towards public TAFEs.


The Free TAFE places will be targeted. They are aimed at helping rebuild industries hit by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism, as well as meet needs in the care economy, including in jobs like child care, aged care, disability care, nursing and community services.


It says the plan will also provide more opportunities for apprentices and trainees, and fill skills shortage gaps in trades and construction, resources, digital and cyber security, new energy and advanced manufacturing, as well as engineering, technology and teaching.


Labor will also be providing $50 million through a TAFE Technology Fund to help TAFEs improve IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and tele-health simulators across the country.


In a related initiative for the education and training sector, Labor says it will work with state and territory governments, industry groups and unions on opportunities which will allow workers to transfer and build on their accredited micro-credential training.


Energy Apprenticeships


Labor plans to invest $100 million to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships.


The program from Labor will be designed to encourage apprentices to train in the new energy jobs of the future and provide them the support they need to complete their training.


Labor will also invest $10 million in a New Energy Skills Program to tailor skills training to meet the needs of new energy industries. The government will work with the states, industry and unions to ensure workers have access to training pathways that are fit-for-purpose.


University Places


Labor has promised to deliver up to 20,000 new university places during 2022 and 2023.


Saying the proportion of applicants who are offered a place at university has fallen every year since 2017, Labor will allocate $481.7 million to help more people gain access to universities so they can get a job. It will prioritise places in universities that can offer courses in national priority areas like clean energy, advanced manufacturing, health and education.


Australian Skills Guarantee


Apprentices and trainees need work in order to learn, and Labor wants the government to provide those opportunities. The Australian Skills Guarantee will train thousands of workers by ensuring one in ten workers on major government projects is an apprentice, trainee or cadet.


Jobs and Skills Australia


Labor will establish a new independent body, Jobs and Skills Australia, to bring together business, states and territories, unions, education providers and regional organisations to match skills training with the demands of industry and strengthen workforce planning.



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