An independent review into Labor’s Trade Training Centres (TTCs) in Schools Program has found that it was more about flashy new buildings than training and that some TTCs are at risk of becoming white elephants.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham today released Trade Training Centres in Schools Program – Independent Review 2014.

“This independent review was commissioned because employers told us that TTC graduates did not have the skills they needed to do the jobs they were supposed to have been trained for,” Senator Birmingham said.

“There was also a real fear from some education authorities that TTCs would become ‘white elephants’”.

“Unsurprisingly, the review finds TTCs were failing students and employers because Labor rushed the policy, focused on buildings rather than student outcomes, and failed to establish any performance benchmark – a hallmark of Labor’s years in government.”

Taxpayers have spent more than $1.4 billion on the TTC program since Labor dismantled the Howard Government’s successful curriculum-focussed Australian Technical Colleges in 2009.

“Labor originally committed $2.5 billion for TTCs in each of Australia’s 2650 secondary schools, but by September 2013 Labor had only managed to deliver 304 centres.

“Just like Labor’s failures on school halls and home insulation, Labor’s TTCs were strong on spin but light on delivery,” Senator Birmingham said.

“While the review identified some positives, it also found inconsistencies in the quality of training, qualifications and equipment available for TTC students.

“The Abbott Government will use the review’s findings to ensure that the taxpayer money already spent better equips Australian secondary students with the skills they need to pursue their vocation of choice.”

The review’s findings also complement the Federal, State and Territory Governments’ collective work to update the National VETiS Framework.  The updated Framework, Preparing Secondary Students for Work, was endorsed by the Education Council on 12 December 2014 and is available on the Education Council website at

“While Labor focused on unsustainable spending without outcomes, the Abbott Government is committed to giving students, employers and taxpayers confidence that the record funding support for VET is delivering improved employment outcomes, higher productivity, greater national competitiveness and stronger economic growth.”

A copy of Trade Training Centres in Schools Program – Independent Review 2014 is available