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Falling numbers highlight need for TAFE rethink

  • Annual report shows TAFE student numbers continuing to drop
  • Figures reinforce need to rebuild TAFE from the ground up
  • Liberal government must adopt Labor’s Free TAFE policy

A further drop in TAFE student numbers underlines the need to rebuild TAFE from the ground up and adopt Labor’s Free TAFE Policy.

Shadow Minister for TAFE, University and Skills Michelle O’Byrne said the alarming numbers demonstrate the need for a complete rethink on skills and training.

“The 2019-20 TasTAFE annual report shows student numbers in 2019 – before COVID-19 hit – were down to 21,189,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“That’s a drop of seven per cent on the previous year and a massive 27 per cent fall since the Liberals came to power in 2014.

“Activity hours are also down four per cent since last year, and a whopping 35 per cent since 2014.

“These figures leave no doubt that urgent action is needed to fix the system. We need to rebuild TAFE from the ground up, with meaningful courses that meet the needs of businesses and provide the skills and training Tasmanians need to get jobs.

“The government also has the potential to drive qualifications and employment in a post-pandemic society by adopting Labor’s $10 million Free TAFE policy, which would provide free courses in key industries facing skills shortages.

“The Liberals have promised to build Tasmania out of recession, but the building and construction sector is already experiencing critical skills shortages while people are desperately looking for jobs.

“More than 20,000 Tasmanians lost their jobs at the height of the pandemic and, sadly, around 11,000 people remain out of work, with young people particularly hard hit.

“As Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package points out, we need to buy local, build local and employ local and, by making TAFE courses more meaningful and accessible we can give businesses the support they need to recover and help Tasmanians get back to work.”

Michelle O’Byrne
Shadow Minister for TAFE, University and Skills