Time to hit the reset button on WorkReady

The State Liberals are calling for the Weatherill Government to scrap planned funding changes to vocational training under the WorkReady program in South Australia and start again.

The call was made at a meeting of angry and bewildered private training providers who will be driven out of business by the Weatherill Government’s new training funding arrangements under the WorkReady program.

“Businesses will close, jobs will be lost and training outcomes will decline as a result of the Weatherill Government’s decision to favour TAFE SA over private training providers,” said Shadow Minister for Employment, Skills and Training, David Pisoni.

At present private vocational training providers deliver about 46% of the 134,900 subsidised training places in South Australia with TAFE SA responsible for the remaining 54%.

Under the new WorkReady scheme the Weatherill Government will allocate 46,000 out of 51,000 places. These arrangements reserve more than 90 per cent of subsidised training places for TAFE SA.

“The Weatherill Government’s funding restrictions will drive private RTOs to the wall, costing jobs and reducing the quality and quantity of vocational training in South Australia,” said Mr David Pisoni.

“A recent ACIL Allen evaluation of vocational training in South Australia found courses run by TAFE SA were approximately 2.5 times higher than private RTOs.

“Concentrating vocational training places in the much more expensive TAFE SA courses will greatly reduce the number of training places available for young people.

“With the highest unemployment on the mainland, South Australia can’t afford to narrow the pathways to employment.

“This decision highlights the importance of the Parliamentary inquiry the State Liberals have proposed into vocational training in South Australia.

“I urge all cross-bench members of the Upper House to support this independent inquiry into the mess the Weatherill Government has created of the vocational training sector.”