TAFE training cut will ‘hurt regions’
A significant cut from the training budget and an increase in TAFE fees is set to hurt regional students and apprentices trying to enter the job market, lobby groups and the State Opposition say.
While the State Budget delivered an $81 million boost to WA schools, it saw a $53.6 million cut to the training sector over the next four years.
The Budget also revealed a 4 per cent increase in TAFE fees and an $80 million saving over the next four years for further staff redundancies in the TAFE system.
State School Teachers’ Union president Pat Byrne said the cuts to TAFE funding would see further staff redundancies and lead to inferior training outcomes for young West Australians.
“These cuts will result in fewer support services for TAFE colleges, fewer support staff, less resources and a reduction in support programs,” she said.
Ms Byrne added the increase to TAFE fees was unaffordable, with some students already feeling an increase in fees of more than 650 per cent over the past two years.
Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said while some courses had seen a fee increase, on average the State Government subsidised the cost of all training by 85 per cent.
“The Government’s Future Skills policy directs taxpayers’ money, and encourages students, into courses where we know there are jobs for graduates, so far there has been a 9 per cent increase in enrolments in these broad priority courses,” she said.
WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said since 2012, the Government’s cuts to the TAFE budget had resulted in an 18.9 per cent decrease in the number of apprenticeships and a 26.3 per cent decrease in traineeships.
Department of Training and Workforce Development director-general Dr Ruth Shean said the 2016 funding allocation for North Regional TAFE reflected estimated administrative savings made from the new TAFE structure.