Labor pledges free TAFE and more university places

The Labor Party has pledged it will provide free TAFE and more university places if it is successful at the federal election.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has proposed a $1.2 billion 'Future Made in Australia Skills Plan' designed to address skills shortages in Australia through new places at university and TAFE.

It would provide 456,000 free TAFE places, including 45,000 new ones, to boost workforces which have been hit hardest by COVID-19, including hospitality and tourism, and to help meet needs in care industries such as aged care and child care.

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A $50 million TAFE Technology Fund would improve IT facilities, workshops, laboratories and tele-health simulators across the country.

A $100 million New Energy Apprenticeships would encourage and support 10,000 apprentices to train in new energy jobs, and provide the additional support they need to complete their training.

The proposal would mean at least 70 per cent of Commonwealth vocational education funding went towards public TAFE.

It would also create up to 20,000 new university places to address skills shortages and fill future skills needs by training Australians in jobs including engineering, nursing, tech, and teaching.

Places would also be prioritised for universities offering more opportunities for under-represented groups such as people in regional, remote and outer-suburban areas, those who are the first in their family to study at university, and First Nations Australians.

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