The Labor Government’s belated release of the Training Market snapshot for 2017 shows a sector genuinely struggling as the government attempts to paper over the cracks. This decline is particularly pronounced in regional Victoria.
The report was surreptitiously uploaded to the Department’s website a year past its regular reporting date and is a mere 8 pages long. The same report in 2015 was 153 pages of detailed information on the performance of the sector, raising the question, what is Labor trying to hide by so aggressively censoring this latest report?
Between 2016 and 2017 there were 37,000 fewer enrolments in VET, which represents a 12% decline for regional Victoria and 9% in metropolitan Melbourne. This follows on from a drop of over 10% in students in regional Victoria the previous year.
The drop in regional Victoria is highest in Barwon South West at 18%, and there’s been a 12% reduction in Hume and 10% in Loddon Mallee. Not only are our regional young people facing difficult employment conditions, now they are also losing their opportunities to engage in training to help them gain the skills they need to enter the workforce.
This decline also represents the largest national drop in participation rates, with a reduction of over 2% to 7.3% participation of working age Victorians in training.
Minister Gayle Tierney told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee in 2017 that Labor had “arrested the decline” in student numbers.
This Government report shows very clearly that students continue to desert their system.
Particularly concerning is the drop in enrolments in training in NDIS related areas (33%) and family violence (19%). These are key sectors with strong employment growth and a need for skilled workers. Not only are these lost opportunities for future employment for Victorians, but they represent a failure of the government to provide skilled practitioners in key community service areas protecting the most vulnerable Victorians.
This government asserts that enrolments are down because they are improving the quality of training, yet the Productivity Commission shows employers satisfied with VET training of their employees has dropped, with less than 70% of employers satisfied, a decline of 2.6 per cent from 2015 to 2017. For training highly connected to jobs, the decline in employer satisfaction in apprenticeships or traineeships has dropped 8.7 per cent over the same period.
It’s no wonder then that Daniel Andrews has sought to hide this report.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training and Skills, Mary Wooldridge:
“Daniel Andrews is presiding over a VET sector that is haemorrhaging students.”
“The dramatic drop in enrolments in VET in regional Victoria is of real concern for our country kids who need the skills to get a job.”
“Not only are fewer students being trained, but the Labor Government’s excuse of higher quality training is not represented in the industry feedback.”
“Daniel Andrews has clearly delayed the release of and cut this report to the bone so Victorians can’t see his failure to deliver the VET system this State needs.”
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