Scott Morrison has declared “TAFE is as good as university” and in many cases leads to better pay.
The Prime Minister’s remarks, made before Council of Australian Governments (COAG) talks with state premiers begin in Cairns on Friday, are designed to kickstart a new debate on the status of vocational education in Australia.
“My message to those young people or those who are elsewhere engaged in the technical education system is TAFE is as good as uni,” Mr Morrison said.
“Vocational education is as good as uni, and I’ve got to say some of the people that I’ve met who have been most successful in business, they’ve done it out of a trade and technical qualification.
“We want to really lift the status of vocational education in Australia.
“You ask me my passion about what we’re going to be talking about at COAG, it is about how we can get people better trained in our economy, support employers who want to put people into better trades so that they can make their businesses do better.”
The PM’s mentor, John Howard, was another Liberal proponent of the idea that learning a trade was as good as and often paid better than a university degree.
Mr Morrison said there are bottlenecks in the training system that need to be cleared.
“The big one for me is skills development,” Mr Morrison said.
“This is an area, I think, of frustration for all jurisdictions and it is particularly a frustration more importantly for businesses who want to employ people and people who want to get trained so that they can get employed.
“The system at the moment is letting us down on that front, and so it’s important that the Commonwealth and states come together to ensure that it is a far less bureaucratic, a far less public service-driven sector, and it is actually about the needs of businesses who want to employ people and people who want to get trained to be employed.”
The Prime Minister suggested TAFE colleges also had a big role to play in retraining older workers.
“It’s not just young people who are involved in technical education,” he said.
“People are coming out of industries that are changing and moving into new industries, people who are going to work in the human services field and things like aged care, disability care and support, new cyber technology areas.
“All the technology training that needs to be done in these areas goes right across the spectrum of people’s ages and experiences, and we need to make sure that we are training people for those jobs.”
Mr Morrison was also asked the claim by banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne that three-word slogans was decaying democracy.
Mr Morrison is fond of “stop the boats” and “have a go to get a go”, which is longer.
“Well, I did stop the boats and people who do have a go do get a go under my policies, so I think that’s a pretty good plan. Cheers,” he said.