NTEU Media Release: Skills and education at the core of tackling insecure work divide
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) agrees with former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe’s statements at the National Press Club today that insecure employment requires changes to how we fund life-long training and education.
“We agree with the former Deputy Prime Minister that education and skills development must be at the core of how we shape our economy and workforce and how we deal with the problems caused by insecure employment,” said Jeannie Rea, NTEU President.
“This requires a lot more than the shallow debate we are currently having around ‘productivity’ and whether or not we can complete with China or India on flexibility and wages.”
“The growing divide between the employed and under employed necessitates more fundamental changes, including how we structure and fund deep, life-long education and skills development.”
“We would stress we already have a world class TAFE and higher education system capable of meeting these challenges. This needs to be better funded. We also need to rethink the level and structure of financial support for those studying.”
“At the moment our student financial support system is still overwhelmingly predicated on supporting young people of school leaving age.”
“The current system does not serve these people particularly well. It’s even worse when it comes to supporting older people who have children and financial commitments that prevent them from easily accessing further education and training, including university qualifications.”
“NTEU would also stress there are major barriers to encouraging further education and training, when the people providing it in our TAFE and universities are themselves a heavily casualised workforce.”
“As the insecure work inquiry demonstrated, casualisation is not a problem that just affects traditional blue collar industries.”
“We estimate that as many as 77,000 out of a total university workforce of approximately 180,000 are casually employed. More than half the undergraduate teaching in Australian universities is carried out by casual academics employed by the teaching hour.”
“This has huge implications, not just for younger students, but for the people the former Deputy Prime Minister is taking about,” said Rea. “Despite their skill and effort, casual academics do not get the support or resources from their institutions to deliver high-quality of teaching.”
“We hope the insecure work inquiry report starts of a much broader national conversation about the education and workforce investment measures needed to create a more inclusive society.”
For information and comment
Jeannie Rea, NTEU President: 0434 606 531
Andrew Nette, NTEU Media Officer: 0431 217 131