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Report reveals states still a barrier to vocational training enrolments.

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Media Release


23 May 2006

A national report has revealed almost 1.64 million Australians enrolled in vocational and technical education and training last year, but the figure could be much higher if not for the patchy performance by some states, Australian Government Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, the Hon Gary Hardgrave said today.

This latest preliminary research by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research indicates a 2.9% increase in the number of Australians taking up vocational and technical education opportunities.

While Mr Hardgrave welcomed the increase in enrolments, he expressed concern that, ‘These figures show the difference across state-by-state jurisdictions, which in itself underscores recent reports which show our training system to be operating in a patchy way.'

“From my point of view, we have to see an end to this state-by-state approach and ensure that states are contributing to, not holding back the nation’s economic progress.”

“Victoria’s decline shows that this state is under-performing compared with the rest of Australia when it comes to VTE.”

The NCVER notes that:

z the total number of VTE students nationally has increased to 1.64

million students in the public VET system in 2005 - up by 2.9% on the 1.6 million students in 2004;

z overall figures have been skewed by a reduction of 4.5% in student

numbers in Victoria - all other states and territories achieved increases in 2005; and


z total subject enrolments increased by 2.9% and total hours of

delivery increased by 3.9%.

Through the 2005-08 Commonwealth-State Agreement for Skilling Australia’s Workforce, the Australian Government is providing a record $10.8 billion over the next four years to VTE, including $1.4 billion in new initiatives to provide for skills needs - the biggest ever commitment to VTE by any Australian Government - and is specifically targeting growth in areas of industry skill needs.

While the Australian Government does not operate a single TAFE, its record funding and leadership in VTE has resulted in unmet demand significantly decreasing from 89,300 in 1995 under Labor, to 45,000 last year. Under the Howard Government, there are more than 390,000 apprentices in training, compared with an 122,600 under Labor in 1993.

The Australian Government’s provision of additional funds will see an additional 128,000 training places created nationally over the life of the agreement, if the states fully match it.

Mr Hardgrave noted that, “In New South Wales, some 10 000 students in high schools are denied the chance which Queensland high school students have enjoyed for almost a decade - to undertake a Certificate III level trade training qualification while completing their year 11 and 12 academic studies.”

To download a copy of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: Students and Courses 2005 - Preliminary Data - go to

Media Contact:

Mr Hardgrave’s Office: Nikki Voss 0402 896 100

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