Sep 28, 2004

Now it’s up-front full fees for apprentices


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 28 September 2004

In the media this morning the Minister for Training, Brendan Nelson, has conceded that students attending Mr Howard’s 24 new Technical Colleges will likely have to pay up-front full fees for their apprenticeships.

Mr Nelson has now confirmed that a user pays principle will underpin Mr Howard’s new Technical Colleges.

But Mr Nelson’s belated admission should surprise no one. John Howard has only one policy when it comes to education and training – user pays, user pays, user pays.

Not satisfied with increasing the cost of a university education, Mr Howard now wants to put a career in the traditional trades out of reach for most young Australians.

If Mr Howard is re-elected young people will have to pay significantly more to obtain a trade qualification.

For example, at Mr Howard’s Technical Colleges a Certificate III in Construction Services Stream (General Plumbing) could cost $1,130 up-front. By contrast, under a Latham Labor Government a student undertaking this, or another qualification, while still at high school would pay nothing.

What’s more, Mr Nelson has also acknowledged that many of these new and expensive Technical Colleges won’t be up and running until 2008.

Australia’s skills crisis is here and now. Only Labor has a plan to fix it.