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Up-front TAFE fees to go for 10,000 educators: Labor’s new educator workforce policy

The Labor Opposition has announced that if they win the next election, they will scrap up-front TAFE fees for 10,000 early education qualification courses.

In a statement released today, the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Education Minister Amanda Rishworth said that “almost 300,000 more children will need an early education and care place in 2019-20 than in 2016- 17”, requiring a significant boost to the early education workforce.

The 10,000 places are part of Labor’s already announced TAFE 100,000 places that will not pay up-front fees which formed part of their Budget Reply in May. Labor have also committed that 200 places will be reserved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The early education workforce is under significant strain, with the previous Workforce Strategy ceased in 2016 and federal funding for professional development also ended in 2016.

In an opinion piece for The Framework in July, advocate Lisa Bryant said that the sector was in the middle of a workforce crisis.

The number of people studying through our VET system is dropping. In NSW for example, the number of students studying an early childhood Diploma has dropped 63% over the past two years,” said Ms Bryant.

Today’s announcement comes as part of Labor’s plan for a National Preschool and Kindy Program, which will include federal funding for three-year-old preschool access.

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