TAFE train­ing cut will ‘hurt re­gions’

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Court­ney Fowler

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.

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