Labor’s Doug Cameron slams for-profit training

There is no faulting Labor’s Doug Cameron for a failure of frankness. In a speech yesterday to the Australian Council for Private Education and Training he slammed the whole idea of for-profit VET and signalled what will happen if Labor wins the next election.

“The training market and the commercial ascendency of for-profit training provision, has put at risk the viability of TAFE and other not-for-profit providers seeking to deliver quality. Profiteering and exploitation is wrecking lives – but it is also responsible for dismantling quality and trust in our vocational education system,” the shadow minister for skills, TAFE and apprenticeships said.

And TAFE is the way to restore training, the senator made clear.

“Labor is unequivocally committed to ensuring a robust and sustainable public TAFE network is put firmly at the centre of our vocational education and training system. That is why we are guaranteeing that at least two thirds of government funding goes to TAFE, and the balance goes to not-for-profit community and adult educators, and only high quality private providers with demonstrated links to industry.”

But if some in the private sector find solace in the reference to a role for “high quality providers,” they shouldn’t.

“There is an important role for non-TAFE providers in a high-quality VET system complementing the role of TAFE, collaborating with each other – but if profit remains a driving and distorting force in the system, nothing will change for the better,” Senator Cameron added.

The senator also reiterated his long-standing concerns with the competency based system and the way training programmes are developed.


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