AEU and Nurses Union rift over training

An independent analysis of national funding for Vocational Education Training (VET) shows a $26.3 million surge in recurrent funding in South Australia in 2019 creating thousands of new job opportunities for apprentices and trainees.

The 12.3 per cent increase in recurrent funding took the Marshall Government’s contribution from $213.6 million in 2018 to $239.9 million in 2019, the third largest of the states and territories and more than double the national average increase of 5.3%.

VET recurrent funding in South Australia in 2019 was $100 million greater than in the last year of the Labor Government when just $139.9 million was in committed to training apprentices and trainees.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) report also details a $12.2 million increase or 25.7 per cent jump in apprenticeship training funding in South Australia, compared to a national increase of just 1.9 per cent.

“The substantial increase in funding reflects the Marshall Government’s commitment to repair the damage the former Labor Government inflicted on the VET system and deliver new job opportunities for thousands of South Australians,” said Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni.

“Our commitment to improving training opportunities for South Australians has also led to a rift between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

“The AEU has attacked the fact TAFE is no longer delivering certain courses despite the fact that training is now provided by ANMF.

“The fact the ANMF is lobbying the State Government to be funded to deliver health courses instead of TAFE shows just how sensible and practical the current arrangements are.

“It beggars belief that the AEU has a problem with the ANMF delivering courses to train people to work in mental health, or aged care RTO’s training workers in that industry or the Motor Traders Association teaching the next generation of mechanics.

“The State Government is investing an additional $280 million in skills and training programs and TAFE has equal access to that funding. The simple requirement facing all training organisations is that they deliver quality training courses at competitive rates.

“The AEU’s claim that non-government providers will lead to increased costs and lower quality courses is demonstrably wrong.

“In 2019/20 TAFE SA delivered around 5 million hours of publicly subsidized training at a funding cost of $231 million, non-government training providers delivered 6 million hours at a funding cost of just $52 million.

“The fact that employers and students can now choose who delivers their vocational education has led to South Australia leading the nation in the growth of commencements of apprenticeships and traineeships.

“The former Labor Government left TAFE in disarray with a random audit in 2017 leading to the suspension of courses affecting some 800 students in courses ranging from aged care, to hairdressing to plumbing.

“The Marshall Government has invested heavily in TAFE since coming to office to ensure it can continue to play an important role in the delivery of vocational education in South Australia.

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