Prue Car MP, Shadow Minister for Skills  

Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Baird Government has proven it is ignoring the true extent of the plummeting apprenticeship and traineeship numbers in NSW.

Minister for Skills John Barilaro in NSW Parliament yesterday wrongly boasted about high apprentice numbers in Western Sydney.

In the 12 months ending September 2015 the number of apprentices and trainees starting a course was down 12.9 per cent in NSW - the biggest drop of any state.

A key finding from the Greater Western Sydney Skills audit report, released in October last year, was a serious shortage of "grey collared workers” in Western Sydney.

Grey collared workers are defined as in the report as highly skilled but lacking in formal qualifications - these workers often obtain necessary qualifications through TAFE.

NSW Labor believes this concerning skills shortage in NSW, and in Western Sydney, is a direct result of the Baird Government’s attack on TAFE.

Since the introduction of Smart and Skilled program the Liberal-National Government has:

Cut $1.7 billion from education and training, sacked 2,100 TAFE teachers and support staff and slashed class contact times; Student fees have dramatically increased with basic courses now starting at $4,000 whilst many students now face fee increases in excess of $1,000; and Flagged closing and selling 27 TAFE sites this financial year to raise $63 million to fund a shortfall in the IT budget – which has come as a result of the botched LMBR scheme. Indicated it will press ahead with more cuts to TAFE.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Skills Prue Car

“How can the Minister stand up in Parliament and say apprentice numbers are up while his Government destroys TAFE and discourages new apprentices and trainees?

“The number of people completing apprenticeships and traineeships has plummeted – while youth unemployment continues to grow in NSW.

“This Government is making it harder and harder for young people to seek further education.”