TAFE ‘gutted’ as 30-plus jobs axed
More than 30 full-time equivalent staffers have been let go throughout the Pilbara TAFE network in the past two years, as student numbers in South Hedland and Karratha have dropped drastically.
There were just 990 enrolled students at South Hedland’s TAFE campus last year, a drop of close to 35 per cent on the previous year, while in Karratha, the campus faced a drop of more than 25 per cent of its student base.
The figures, revealed in Parliament, come as recent reports showed TAFE fees had risen more than 600 per cent in the past three years, prompting fears it would add to WA’s rocketing youth unemployment rate.
And it seems the pain is being felt throughout the Pilbara, with the statistics revealing drops at all Pilbara training locations bar the Roebourne Regional Prison.
Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral Stephen Dawson said the drop in TAFE students across the Pilbara was of growing concern.
“The Government has gutted the TAFE system ... they’ve closed TAFE campuses and substantially reduced the number of courses in the Pilbara,” he said.
Training and workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said at the mid-year budget review she had capped fee increases for apprentices and trainees at one per cent and 4 per cent for other courses.
She said the State Government was also ensuring there would be sufficient training positions in growing and emerging industries.
“I’m confident as conditions improve, employers would put more staff on; however, businesses should ensure they are looking ahead and put enough apprentices,” she said.
Pilbara Institute lecturer Peter Rodenburg instructs construction student Leon Jacques in the use of an oxy acetalene cutter.