I hold two TAFE qualifications, which I earned 20 years apart. Both of them developed vocational and professional skills that benefited me, my employer and the many people and businesses we dealt with. Multiply that by hundreds of thousands if not millions of TAFE graduates over the last 50+ years and it's easy to see the value of our public investment in TAFE.
I graduated high school in the middle of Keating Labor's "recession we had to have". Jobs for young people were very hard to come by, as indeed they are today under the Abbott Liberal-National government.
The difference between then and now is that at least TAFE was an accessible and affordable option for a young person with an interest in finding work. I completed an Advertising qualification that helped me secure an entry-level job in an agency and so got my career underway. It was the best $70(!) I ever spent and I worked, earned a salary and paid taxes in that career for the next 10 years full time and a further 5 years part-time, returning that public investment many times over.
The next qualification I earned at TAFE was in 2014 -- a Diploma of Government. Although the price tag was noticeably higher at $750, even then it still delivered a set of skills in public administration that means I can deliver better quality and more effective solutions for any current or future role I may hold in public service. Although in 2014 TAFE had become a pricier option, it was still (just) within reach for an ordinary Australian.
Not so, any longer in NSW, Victoria or many other places. With basic TAFE courses now coming with price tags in the thousands or tens of thousands, we face great social and economic peril. The Greens are the only part serious about restoring the accessibility and affordability of TAFE for all Australians, and I personally am committed to securing that outcome.