More than $1 billion has been earmarked for an additional 180,000 fee-free TAFE places across the country by next year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced.
In his opening address to the Jobs and Skills Summit, Albanese told attendees Australians needed to gain the skills required to secure good jobs, and acknowledged the need to take action as the country attempted to address skills shortages.
The new places come on top of the 465,000 fee-free TAFE places announced prior to this year's federal election.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) welcomed the news, saying there was "an urgent need for skilled workers to secure our economy now and into the long term".
“Australia is facing skills shortages across states and territories, and across industries,” AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said in a statement.
“The Prime Minister has acknowledged the critical role TAFE plays in Australia’s vocational education and training system and placed it at the heart of the national jobs and skills agenda.
“TAFE is the best place to ensure the workers we need gain the skills and knowledge required to fill workforce gaps.
"Across hundreds of campuses across Australia, TAFE provides high-quality vocational education to thousands of students.”
Haythorpe added that with funding and investment, TAFE could continue to help Australia rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic, and address skill shortages in the labour market, as well as ensure the country’s future economic security.
The importance of skilling up workers for jobs of the future is on top of the summit’s agenda as skill sets required for the modern job market change rapidly.
Confirming the need for workers to adapt their skills for a changing market, a November 2021 LinkedIn report revealed there had been a 25 per cent change in its members' skill sets in the past six years.
It also stated that this pace of change was expected to accelerate to 44 per cent by 2025.