Monday, 11 September 2023
Private Members' Business
Vocational Education and Training
Investing in one's education is often called 'the key to success'. When you acquire skills through learning, those skills will follow you for life. Our government's fee-free TAFE policy has done just that. The policy has been a game changer for many people since it was rolled out. I am very thankful that the policy has been an absolute success, with 214,300 enrolments so far, in the first six months. What a milestone! Demographic data also shows that fee-free TAFE is supporting Australians from all walks of life—youth, jobseekers, people with disabilities, First Nations Australians and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This shows that our government's fee-free TAFE policy is not only a beacon of success and hope but also a catalyst for a positive change. Its impact on the local community is nothing short of remarkable.
The fee-free TAFE policy introduced by our government aims to provide fee-free training in critical industries to boost skills, employability and economic growth. This policy has had a profound effect on Australians, particularly students in my seat of Tangney, who will receive real, tangible benefits. With the fee-free TAFE policy in place, countless students have been empowered to seek further education for themselves, to develop new skills and to enhance their employability. Access to fee-free education has removed the financial barriers that previously made it difficult for many to pursue further education and training. Many people who may previously have struggled to find stable employment are now equipped with the skills and qualifications needed to secure meaningful jobs.
The outcome of this policy is a direct boost in education and skills training for people, directly translating to increased employability. I know that the care sector will benefit significantly from this policy, with courses across health care, aged care and disability care attracting 23.8 per cent of total enrolments. We also have construction attracting 9.8 per cent, technology and digital media attracting 7.8 per cent, and early childhood education and care attracting 5.5 per cent of enrolments. In addition to this, women make up 60.2 per cent of the enrolments, with nearly 130,000 women taking on qualifications under the program. This is so powerful.
In a multicultural society like Australia, TAFE provides a unique opportunity for individuals from different cultures and backgrounds to come together, learn and exchange ideas. I was once a TAFE student, and I look back at that time so fondly—not only for what I learnt but for the people I met along the way. When I arrived in Australia from Malaysia, back in 2002, my English was really bad. I went to Thornlie TAFE to learn English. I did a six-month course to receive a certificate II in English. As a student I learnt more than just a language; I learnt acceptance and appreciation of the diverse cultural backgrounds of my fellow students who, like me, had come to pursue a better education and life for themselves. My teacher, Sarma Gough, who I'm still in contact with, brought me so much knowledge and help.
Without having started my journey at TAFE and subsequently taken on an additional training course at Thornlie TAFE to have the skills to become a police officer, I would not be standing here in this House today. This is a policy that has opened doors to new opportunities, improved employability and better outcomes for everyday Australians. For that I say thank you.