The Federal Government has announced it will invest $12.6 billion in the National Skills Agreement (NSA) after a National Cabinet meeting last night.
The landmark five-year NSA, which will take effect from January next year, was developed under principles agreed by National Cabinet and will embed national cooperation and strategic investment in the vocational education and training sector.
National Cabinet’s agreement will look to place TAFE at the heart of the VET sector, with TAFEs to be supported by baseline funding commitments. Major reforms include the establishment of nationally networked TAFE Centres of Excellence involving partnerships between TAFEs, universities, Jobs and Skills Councils, and industry.
“The National Skills Agreement is consistent with so much of what my Government does – bringing people together from all over the country to address the common challenges faced by all of us,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. “We need to train Australians for the jobs of today as well as the jobs of tomorrow.”
The $12.6 billion is designed to deliver skills for critical and emerging industries. For the Federal Government, the top priorities include (but are not limited to) clean energy and net zero transformation of the economy, Australia’s sovereign capability – inclusive of advanced manufacturing skills, national security, food security and construction –, care and support services, and ensuring Australia’s digital and technology capability. According to the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, the states, territories, and Federal Government have provided “national leadership” to build a system “greater than the sum of its parts”.
“The TAFE sector has endured periods of underfunding, impacts of deregulation, loose rules of VET market entry, a lack of national cohesion and an obsession for competition at the expense of collaboration,” he said. “A high performing and world-class VET sector is crucial for achieving a fairer society and a stronger economy.”
The new investment in the National Skills Agreement from the Albanese Government comes on top of the $414 million committed for the delivery of 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE places from 2024.