TAFE fee's skyrocket post-Budget

TAFE fees are set to go up substantially after the State and Federal budgets hit the sector hard. 

State Budget key points:

– Student contributions up from 7% to 19% over next 3 years. This means big fee increases.

- Increase in competitive funding.

- Ending of capped course fees in 2 years.

- Revised student fee structure (priority bias)

Federal Budget key points:

There have been at least $1.5 billion funding cuts in the VET sector, with indications that there will be further changes to funding over the next twelve months, including changes to arrangements in the National Agreement, and National Partnership Agreement.

Cuts:

Tools For Your Trade (TFYT) - $914.6 million over four years.

TFYT was a payment of up to $5,500 paid directly to the apprentice to help with the expenses sometimes associated with starting an apprenticeship, such as purchasing the tools of your trade, moving out of home or saving to buy a car. It will cease on 1 July, 2014.

The following programmes will be abolished, worth at least $1 billion:

  • National Workforce Development Fund
  • Workplace English Language and Literacy programme
  • Australian Apprenticeships Access Programme
  • Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships Programme
  • Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Programme
  • National Partnership Agreement on Training Places for Single Parents
  • Alternative Pathways Programme
  • Apprenticeship to Business Owner Programme
  • Productive Ageing through Community Education
  • Step Into Skills Programme

These programs were to provide basic literacy and numeracy skills and to up-skill existing workers to “meet the needs of the modern workplace”.

Replaced with:

Trade Support Loans Programme - $439 million over four years

A HECS-style loans scheme of up to $20,000 per apprentice restricted to skills shortages or “in demand” areas. The payments will be administered through the Australian Apprenticeship Centres, and the payments will be $8,000 in the first year, $6,000 in the second year, $4,000 in the third year and $2,000 in the fourth year.

Industry Skills Fund - $476 million over four years

Industry Skills Fund will “complement, not duplicate state programmes, by delivering the industry defined skills employees need to support industry to diversify, to become export orientated and boost productivity.” It is to deliver 121,500 Training Places, and 74,300 support services, businesses to make a co-contribution.

Industry Skills Councils have had their funding rolled over for twelve months.

National Skills Standards Council has been abolished, but the funding remains in the forward estimates seeming to indicate that it will be replaced with a coalition “industry leadership” body.

The funding for the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme has dropped from $898,681 in 2013/14 to $576,212 in the 2014/15 budget and then $443,627 in 2015/16, $423,698 2016/17 and $421,124 2017/18. This however was a cut made by the previous government.