Soar­ing TAFE costs af­fect job­less fig­ures

Pilbara News - - News - Kim Macdon­ald

TAFE fees have risen more than 600 per cent in the past three years, prompt­ing fears it will add to WA’s rock­et­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment rate.

Union­sWA said high course fees, which had jumped by up to $10,000 for some cour­ses, would add to youth un­em­ploy­ment of 11.4 per cent by mak­ing train­ing too ex­pen­sive.

Ex­am­ples of the TAFE fee in­creases in­clude the Diploma of Nurs­ing, which in­creased from $1862 in 2013 to $9361 this year.

An Ad­vanced Diploma of Engi­neer­ing (elec­tri­cal) rose from $2203 in 2013 to $12,712 this year, while a Cer­tifi­cate IV in Beauty Ther­apy cost $626 in 2013 and is now $4778. Union­sWA sec­re­tary Mered­ith Ham­mat said the State Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to re­move cost caps on cour­ses had di­rectly re­sulted in ris­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment.

“Young peo­ple from low to mid­dle-in­come fam­i­lies — those most at risk of un­em­ploy­ment — are also those least able and will­ing to take on huge debts in or­der to gain job skills,” she said.

“Our TAFE system needs to be part of a pos­i­tive plan for jobs in WA, with Govern­ment hav­ing a lead­ing role, not stand­ing on the side­lines.”

Train­ing Minister Liza Har­vey said the Govern­ment sub­sidised 85 per cent of train­ing. “Our TAFE will train as many ap­pren­tices and trainees that in­dus­try is will­ing to take on,” she said.

She said stu­dents who could not af­ford the fees could seek fee help through a loan scheme.

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