TAFE cut impacts now clear - dramatic drop in young people in training

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The NSW Opposition is renewing calls to boost TAFE funding, as new statistics reveal the true impact of the Liberals’ damaging TAFE cuts – with the proportion of young school leavers studying or in a job going backwards, and the lowest level of apprenticeships completed since 2010.

The latest Education Department annual report found the proportion of school leavers aged 15 to 19 years old participating in education, training or employment has reached a three year low of 69.4 per cent - well short of the Government’s own 90 per cent target.

On top of course cuts and fee increases, there are over 2,100 fewer TAFE teachers and support staff than when the Liberals came to power in 2011 – including 1,000 staff cut between June 2013 and June 2014.

“These figures reveal the alarming effect of the Liberal Government’s savage cuts to TAFE,” said Shadow Minister for Skills David Harris.

“In 2012, Barry O’Farrell said 800 TAFE staff would lose their jobs over four years, but the truth is 1,931 staff – more than double the original 800 – have been laid off since he made that claim.

“In all, more than 2,111 TAFE teachers and staff have lost their jobs under the Liberals’ watch.

“We now have more young people that are not in school, not studying and not working. The Baird Government is gutting TAFE and providing no alternatives to school leavers.

“We’re in the midst of a youth unemployment crisis yet the Liberals are doing nothing to help young people get into a job. Instead this Government has locked them out of the chance to get a TAFE qualification.

“It’s no coincidence fewer people are getting trained up – the Liberals are taking an axe to TAFE while offering no pathway to reach their target of 90 per cent of school leavers in training or employment.

“The number of young people completing apprenticeships and traineeships has dropped to its lowest level since 2010.

“John Barilaro can say whatever he wants to justify his Government’s gutting of TAFE. What he’s not saying is how he proposes to fill this self-inflicted skills shortage.

“The Liberals set us on a road to having fewer of the skilled workers our state so desperately needs – a road to even higher unemployment that will stifle economic growth.

“Our young people need to be given every opportunity to contribute to our community and our economy. Mike Baird simply doesn’t get it.”