Labor to waive upfront fees for 5,000 TAFE IT students

If elected, the federal opposition will introduce 5,000 TAFE positions that will be available for free.

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(Image: iStockphoto/undrey)

With less than a week until the federal election, the Australia Labor Party announced on Monday it would waive upfront fees for 5,000 students enrolling in IT-related courses at TAFE institutions across the country.

The opposition is not sure what courses would be available under the new plan, but it said it would work with states and territories to identify areas of focus.

The courses are likely to include IT networking and systems administration, software and website development, and UX/UI skills.

Labor wants 50% of the places to go to women.

If successful, Labor said it would also task an Apprenticeship Advocate to "refresh and expand the digital traineeship pathway" in a bid to tackle Australia's digital skills shortages.

"Labor's Apprenticeship Advocate will partner with industry, unions, TAFE educators and experts to expand the reach of quality apprenticeships and traineeships in the ICT sector," a statement from three shadow ministers said.

"The Advocate will work with the partners to ensure high standards of on and off-the-job-training, leading to transferrable skills and qualifications."

Labor's election campaign also includes a plan to "drive greater industry investment in training" by working with major government IT suppliers to ensure one in 10 employees working on major government digital projects are digital apprentices or trainees.

Where TAFE is concerned, Labor said it would also "revitalise" its digital infrastructure through investing AU$1 million into a Building Information Modelling and Digital Engineering Centre at Melbourne Polytechnic's Preston campus as well as AU$2 million for a cybersecurity training centre at the Kangan Institute, Broadmeadows TAFE.

AUSTRALIAN ELECTION 2019