Turbocharging TAFE Centres of Excellence and accelerating apprenticeships




25 September 2023


The Albanese Government will equip more Australians with the skills of the future by turbocharging TAFE Centres of Excellence and accelerating the take up of higher and degree apprenticeships in the priority areas of net zero, care, and digitisation.

In identifying the most important challenges and opportunities for the economy, particularly the transformation to net zero, the Employment White Paper outlines how the Commonwealth will increase funding to fast track up to six new TAFE Centres of Excellence under the five-year National Skills Agreement, which is currently being negotiated.

This extra funding will support partnerships between TAFEs, Jobs and Skills Councils, industry and universities – to establish TAFE Centres of Excellence, design and teach world leading curriculum and provide students with cutting edge skills.

In addition to the $325 million that has already been proposed by the Commonwealth Government under the National Skills Agreement for TAFE Centres of Excellence, the Government will commit an additional around $41 million, comprising of around $31 million to turbocharge the new TAFE Centres of Excellence and approximately $10 million to develop higher and degree apprenticeships.

It forms part of the Albanese Government’s efforts to increase the share of Australians in areas of high skills needs, which is a key reform direction outlined in the White Paper. It also supports the Government’s efforts to invest in skills, higher education and lifelong learning.

The intention is to create new degree apprenticeship qualifications and enable TAFEs to deliver new bachelor equivalent higher apprenticeships independent of universities, giving them capacity to provide students with opportunities to gain the advanced skills needed by industries.

The Government is aiming to double higher apprenticeship commencements in the priority areas identified in the White Paper over five years.

Higher apprenticeships are an innovative skills pathway, ensuring the education and training sector can respond to the skills that industry demands and is responsive and agile.

Industry needs will be built into the model by encouraging an employment relationship as part of the design meaning that students get the best of classroom and workplace learning and a line of sight to a meaningful job at the end of their training.

These reforms will mean that apprentices can get degree-level qualifications and university students can more easily get practical training and skills.

The Government’s vision is for a dynamic and inclusive labour market where everyone has the opportunity for secure, fairly paid work and people, businesses and communities can be beneficiaries of change and thrive.

By equipping more Australians with the skills of the future and accelerating the take up of higher apprenticeships in key priority areas, we can help realise our vision for a brighter working future.

Quotes attributable to Treasurer Jim Chalmers:

“This is about producing more graduates with more of the skills they’ll need to make the most of the big shifts that are shaping our economy into the future – whether it’s the net zero transformation, growth in the care economy or adapting and adopting new technology.

“It will help to ensure employers get the people they need and workers are the beneficiaries of change in our economy. “We’re turbocharging our TAFEs to deliver the highly-trained, highly-sought after workers that we need in the defining decade ahead.

“To deepen and broaden our industrial base, we need to deepen and broaden the skills of our people and the Employment White Paper is an important part of that conversation.”

Comments attributable to Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor:

“As the economy continues to transform with the ageing of our population, with the transition from hydrocarbons to renewables, with the evolution of information technology to artificial intelligence, it will necessitate highly skilled workers with vocational training be complemented with cutting-edge research and knowledge.

“At its heart, these reforms are about what we need to do now and in the decade ahead, to set the vocational education and training sector up for success and we will continue to develop these reforms through the National Skills Agreement.

“For the workers of the future it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other – TAFE or Uni – it can be a combination of technical skills development and conceptual knowledge.

“We want students of all ages to be able move more easily between vocational education and higher education to develop skills, boost productivity, and meet the skills challenge that confronts the whole of the economy.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“We live in a world where almost every single new job that’s created will require you to finish school and go to TAFE or uni.

“That means we need more people going to TAFE and uni and it means we need TAFEs and unis working closer together.

“That’s what this is all about, helping more Australians gets the skills they need to get the jobs the economy will need now and in the future.”