A Participation in Tertiary Education in Australia report released today by the Mitchell Institute highlights the need for measures to improve quality and confidence in vocational education and training, which are at the heart of Labor’s plan for the sector and for fixing the Liberals’ VET FEE-HELP mess.

Under the Liberals, the VET FEE-HELP loans scheme has escalated from $699 million in 2013 to $1.7 billion in 2014 and is expected to have blown out to over $3 billion for 2015.

It’s students suffering the most from the Liberals’ failures. Most fail to graduate, while those that do often find their so-called “qualifications” from the new private providers are unable to get them the jobs they want, despite incurring a substantial debt.

At the same time, the Liberals are cutting funding to skills, vocational education and training by $2.75 billion, including $1 billion cut from apprentice training.

The Liberals have used the Vocational Education and Skills portfolio as a piggy bank to bankroll their tax cuts for big business.

The report shows that the sector has suffered significant reputational damage in recent years as a result of the Liberals’ neglect and needs a new and sustainable funding model.

Labor’s policy addresses both problems.   

Labor has announced a full, evidence-based review of the vocational education and training system to build a stronger sector and weed out dodgy providers and student rip-offs.

Labor is committed to ensuring our TAFEs are properly funded to train and retrain our workforce to deliver on improving the participation, productivity, innovation and growth efforts that Australia needs. 

Labor has also committed to a funding guarantee for TAFE, a comprehensive review into the role and function of the vocational education and training system and a VET ombudsman. Labor's National Priority Plan for TAFE places it squarely as the public provider within the VET sector and ensures TAFE's viability and strength into the future.

A Shorten Labor Government will also introduce a loan cap of $8,000 a year in the VET FEE-HELP program as part of an integrity package to stop the massive waste of taxpayers’ money, and to prevent price gouging of students and improve training outcomes.

Labor will stop the waste and the exploitation of students.  Our plan will restore integrity to the system, by cleaning out the dodgy private providers who have been ripping Australians off for too long.

Labor's plan will put reasonable limits on course loans in the same way limits are already in place for university degrees.

We will put students and taxpayers first, not vested interests.

The vocational education sector has only seen one winner under the Liberals, and that’s the unscrupulous colleges making huge profits at the expense of students. 

Only Labor will stand up for the welfare of students and the integrity of the vocational education system, and prevent taxpayers lining the pockets of unscrupulous colleges.   

Further details of Labor’s plans are included in the factsheet available here: 

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