Indigenous Australians are almost twice as likely to have disability as non-Indigenous Australians.
As of 2018, the number of Australians with disability aged over 20 who had completed Year 12 and/or held a bachelor’s degree or above was roughly half the number of those without disability.
In addition, just over half of all people with disability of working age were participating in the labour force, well down on the 83 per cent of Australians without disability.
“We know that Australians with disability have lower Year 12 completion and employment rates than Australians without disability,” Mr Eren said.
“This suggests that people with disability face barriers to continuing their education and finding work. We want to find out what these barriers are and develop some solutions to ensure all students, of any ability, can access TAFE and successfully participate and complete their courses.”
Disability was identified as one of several key factors contributing to poor access to education in a recent report on sustainable employment for disadvantaged jobseekers.
The Economy and Infrastructure Committee found this complicated the task of searching for a job in the long term, especially during a weak labour market.
Deputy Chair Gary Blackwood said there is renewed interest in the role of vocational education in the wake of the COVID-19 downturn.
“We need to develop the skills we need to boost jobs and rebuild the economy,” he said.
“This inquiry will help ensure that people with disability are included in government strategies to increase TAFE participation.”
Current policies and practices will go under the microscope, as well as the training and guidance provided to staff and the level of awareness students have about their ability to access available services.
Mr Blackwood said one of the issues they are particularly interested in is the types of training and support TAFE teachers need to better assist students with disability.
“We will also look at programs and strategies used in TAFEs across Victoria as well as interstate to identify what works well and where current practice can be improved,” he said.