Flexible Vocational Education Vital for Mayo

17 Jul 2020

Students in Mayo need a flexible framework for vocational education training (VET) in order to find jobs and fill skill shortages in the region, local Federal MP Rebekha Sharkie said today.

Ms Sharkie said the Nick Xenophon Team supported the Coalition Government’s VET FEE-HELP reforms but would be seeking a review of the way the courses were chosen.

“Both sides of politics were asleep at the wheel with the VET rorts,” she said.

“Instead of pointing the finger of blame at each other, this Parliament needs to deliver a VET framework that adequately trains job seekers into the future.

“In Mayo vocational education is vitally important because many of my constituents come from agricultural backgrounds and VET offers training specific to their careers.

“But not everybody is involved in agriculture and the current criteria for choosing courses fails to recognise the growing need for skilled people in the service and care industries.”

Ms Sharkie condemned the Government’s “narrow” STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) criteria and its focus on the existing state skills list for excluding courses.

The Federal MP said the screening system needed to be updated to make it more responsive to emerging job sectors.

“More than 460 courses have been excluded from the VET FEE-HELP scheme and I think the current course list is too restrictive, ignoring future needs,” Ms Sharkie said.

“One in 63 students in Australia is diagnosed with autism but the Government is removing funding for Diplomas for Teaching Students with Autism Disorder.

“The Government is also introducing massive cuts to creative arts courses, abandoning our aspiring actors, directors, screenwriters and producers and short changing our film and television industries.

“Not every person is our community works in science or technology.

“We need the arts, we need teachers for students with disabilities and we need trained people to provide specialised treatments to our elderly.”

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