TAFE ‘gut­ted’ as 30-plus jobs axed

Pilbara News - - News - Re­becca Par­ish

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.

Pic­ture: Ben Leahy

Pil­bara In­sti­tute lec­turer Peter Ro­den­burg in­structs con­struc­tion stu­dent Leon Jac­ques in the use of an oxy ac­eta­l­ene cut­ter.

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