5 December 2021

The additional 20,000 university places announced today by Labor Leader Anthony Albanese would help ease the pressure on school leavers, address urgent skills gaps for businesses, and allow universities to better support their local communities.

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) warmly welcomes universities’ place at the centre of the skills agenda of a future Labor Government. ATN universities are ready to use these places to deliver greater opportunities for all Australians.

An investment in Australia’s potential and human capital - like the additional 20,000 university places and 465,000 Free TAFE places – is a strategy for growth and prosperity. This will help equip Australians with the skills they need to fully participate in a rapidly recovering economy.

ATN has long advocated for a tertiary education system that prepares Australians from all backgrounds with the skills and capabilities they need to succeed.

Ai Group and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) have recently made headlines highlighting the critical skills shortages in areas such as clean energy, advanced manufacturing, technology, and health and welfare – areas that are also critical in creating our future jobs and prosperity.

ATN is an anchor partner in the Tech Council of Australia’s Digital Employment Forum that is preparing to deliver one million tech jobs by 2025.

To do this, we will need an additional 12,000 university and VET graduates and 60,000 upskilled and reskilled workers above what we are on track to produce. Labor’s 20,000 university places and 465,000 Free TAFE places are the kind of initiative needed to achieve this goal.

Importantly, Labor’s initiative is targeted at the students with unrealised potential. These are the students from first in family backgrounds and regional areas who suffer the most when universities’ ability to meet demand is constrained.


Quotes attributable to ATN Executive Director, Mr Luke Sheehy:

“ATN prides itself on its commitment to equity and participation. We are proud of who we include, not who we exclude.

“Labor’s initiative represents a key building block in a partnership between governments, industry and education providers. Together, we can educate the next generation of graduates, upskill and reskill existing workers, and fill urgent and persistent skills needs through our high quality international education sector.

“ATN looks forward to working with Federal Labor on how to best allocate these additional places, along with harnessing and leveraging our international education sector.”