The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has criticised today’s KPMG report into the Australian vocational education sector, as a lost opportunity to get this troubled sector working.

The report follows a disastrous five years for the sector with over $3 billion ripped out of TAFE, apprenticeships, and training since 2013. Commencements in apprenticeships and traineeships have dropped by 66% in that time.

The Report recommends apprentices should take on more loans to undertake vocational training. This would see the HECS system, that is currently applied to the university sector, rolled out to the vocational sector under a nationalised system. After the disaster of the VET Fee Help program, this would shift the burden of paying for training from employers to apprentices, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

AMWU National President, Andrew Dettmer said the report falls short of the drastic intervention needed to rebuild the sector.

“This is a system in absolute crisis because of the abject failures of the Turnbull Government. The worst thing that could happen would be to hand full control of the system to this government to finish off the job of destroying the sector,” Mr Dettmer said.

“If the recommendations of this report are implemented, the burden of rebuilding vocational education in this country will be taken away from employers and forced upon vulnerable apprentices and other workers.”

“If the Government is serious about reversing their savage cuts, they would end the freeze on Commonwealth grants and bring employers to the table to start paying their fair share,” he said.

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