This budget has laid bare the truth about Victorian students continuing to desert the VET system and Daniel Andrews and Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney’s failure to address the decline.
The number of student enrolments in the VET sector has continued to plummet with a 10.5% decline in 2018 (37,000 fewer enrolments) despite the government’s additional investment of $180 million. This follows a decline in enrolments of 9.2% the previous year.
The Government’s failure to arrest the decline in enrolments in VET is leaving young Victorians without the skills they need for the future and employers without the skilled workforce they need.
This decline has particularly affected rural and regional students, where enrolments have declined by 13.6%, and young people who have not completed year 12 where enrolments have declined 15%. These reductions have a dramatic affect for those students who benefit from vocational training the most and need the skills that can help get them productive, meaningful employment.
On top of all this, Daniel Andrews’ promised a $220 million Building Better TAFEs fund for building projects around the state. In reality, this budget has delivered only a quarter of the promised investment, with a massive $163m missing from the fund. This includes $107 million promised for redevelopments at Melbourne Polytechnic in Collingwood and Chisholm Institute in Frankston.
The Government also continues to demonstrate their complete lack of planning and analysis for their Free TAFE initiative, which was announced with no consultation with the sector. The Minister has repeatedly refused to say how many students were expected to enrol in Free TAFE and on what assumptions the original funding was based upon, and now the budget reveals a cost blow out of $20m (82%) in the program for this year alone.
This VET budget shows Daniel Andrews can’t deliver a program within budget, can’t deliver for our most vulnerable students, can’t deliver the students we need for a skilled workforce and hasn’t delivered the infrastructure investment he promised.