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A new strategic direction required for vocational education.

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Kim Carr - A New Strategic Direction Required For Vocational Education Thursday, 26 April 2001

A New Strategic Direction Required For Vocational Education Kim Carr - Parliamentary Secretary for Education

Media Statement - 23 April 2001

New directions are urgently required for Australia's vocational education system if it is to realise its full potential as an underwriter for a skilled, internationally-competitive workforce," Labor's Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Senator Kim Carr, said to-day.

"The challenge now facing this education sector is not simply to multiply the number of base-grade traineeships, and as a result claim to have reshaped vocational education and training, but rather to provide leadership in the development of a national, quality-assured system of para-professional qualifications across the entire economy."

"The release to-day of Australian apprenticeships: Facts, fiction and future clearly underlines the need for a strategic shift in priorities for vocational education and training in this country. Yet in the face of employer and union demands that the vocational education address the challenges of skills shortages, to-day the Commonwealth Government can't even reach agreement with the states on a new funding package for TAFE colleges,"

"The marginalisation of this important education sector in the Prime Minister's Innovation Statement and the reluctance of the Commonwealth Government to commit growth funding suggests that the issue of vocational education has been put in the too-hard basket," said Senator Carr. " It is clear that the future vision for vocational education will be decided by a general election rather than by the reluctant efforts of the current government."

"Vocational education must be a key instrument in the creation of the highly-skilled, well paid workforce which is critical to Australia's economic prosperity. A truly collaborative partnership between government, employers and unions could achieve broad agreement on the application of available resources to develop a nationally-consistent system.

"Such a system would combine legally-enforceable national standards for quality assurance with a focus on the creation of advanced skills training in areas of economic growth and employment demand."

"Despite the growth in TAFE participation rates," Senator Carr said, "Australia still ranks poorly among OECD nations in terms of post-year 12 qualifications. If we are to remedy this, we must ensure that our vocational education system is marked for its emphasis on the provision of transferable knowledge and skills, providing increased job satisfaction for employees and increased competitiveness for employers. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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