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Scott Morrison employing a television tradie is already crazy, but if you consider the repeated cuts to the TAFE system, it’s borderline insane.
For reasons I’m not entirely sure, Australia is in the business of giving celebrities governmental positions. In a move that’s dangerously close to satire/utter numbness, Scott Morrison has employed television tradie Scott Cam of The Block fame.
“I want to see more Australians become plumbers, electricians and bakers than lawyers and consultants. I would like to see more of them going on to become their own boss,” Morrison said on Thursday.
“Scott Cam is proof that undertaking a trade can be a very valuable, rewarding and successful career choice, and there are plenty more who can tell a similar story to Scott…by learning a trade you’ll earn more, your skills will be in demand and you’ll help build our country and keep our economy strong,” he continued.
Per The New Daily, “Employment and Skills Minister Michaelia Cash said vocational education and training was key to building Australia’s future workforce. She said Mr Cam would help Australians at ‘all ages and stages’ to make informed decisions about learning, training and work. ‘Working with the National Careers Institute, Scott will make sure individuals and businesses can take advantage of the pathways on offer,’ she said.”
There’s just a rather large elephant in the room. If Morrison wants to steer the nation away from university types (which is another discussion) and into blue-collar work, he should focus on the tried-and-tested TAFE route, right?
According to the Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal TAFE Secretary Pat Forward in 2018, the entire system is at risk.
“Government funding cuts have left the TAFE sector perilously close to collapse,” Ms Forward said.
“Under the Turnbull government, funding has been slashed and support for the system has collapsed.”
“The TAFE and vocational education system remains the worst-funded education sector in the country, with funding having been cut by more than 15% between 2007 and 2016,” Ms Forward said.
“The damage inflicted on the sector, particularly as a result of underfunding and attempts to privatise, has eroded the viability of colleges and undermined confidence in the system,” Ms Forward said.
“More people have been through TAFE and vocational training than have attended university in Australia,” Ms Forward said.
“The TAFE sector is responsible for providing vocational education to some of the most important professions in the country, including nurses, child-care workers, hairdressers, aged care and disability workers and electricians.”
“Unless governments address the crisis in the TAFE and vocational education sector as a matter of urgency, the consequences for society and the economy – and for the next generation of young people – will be dire,” Ms Forward said.
In the recent budget, no new funding for TAFE was announced by the Morrison government, with Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe noting that “…there is no additional specified funding for TAFE in the budget. What we have is a sleight of hand by the Morrison government with the majority of the $525 million actually being repurposed money.”
“This is a budget which fails to give a fair go to TAFE. It will deny many thousands of Australians the opportunity to build the skills they need for the careers they want…this funding is essentially a repackaging of the Skilling Australians Fund. In reality, there is just $55 million of new money for vocational education over five years,” she said.
If the Michaelia Cash and Scott Morrison believe that the future of our workforce is vocational training, then why are the cutting off the only meaningful supplier of it?