290_transparent_logoSTC.pngCommunities across the country are rallying to support their highly regarded, world- class TAFE system. 

15,984 Supporters

Latest Comments

Jean Horgan says: Stop TAFE cuts! We don't want a privatised system!
Kathryn Cramp says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Joshua Ceramidas says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
jasmina says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
krazykenny says: Stop
Jenny Sholtz says: Goodbye TAFE NC Tafe is a disgrace
Laura Blandthorn says: Quality TAFE means quality graduates.
Paul Springer says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Joanne Beattie says: My husbands course doubled in fees. Over 60% of the students had to drop out as many were apprentices or workers trying to put themselves thorough. Now they will shut that department due to a lack of enrolements. Little wonder when the course fees are as expensive as university fees. Schools will be next. The state government will not be happy until the Education system is completely privatised.
Claire says: Stop the TAFE cuts! The privatisation of the vocational training sector has turned out to be a HUGE mistake. It has made some morally corrupt people very rich and damaged the reputation of the sector.
Clement says: Incredibly stupid move to cut Tafe investments to fund privately institutions which are clearly failing and should be scrapped. Inability to look at the facts and adapt is unfortunately a common failing of our politicians.
Greg Flynn says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Amanda Tattam says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Ron Russo says: I'm about to retire, I have had continued employment, thanks to my Electronics trade course and subsequent post trades courses, all done through TAFE. Great education must be available to all, were not all destined to be doctors or lawyers.
Megan Bartley says: Stop TAFE Cuts!
bruce schneider says: I'm a teacher at TAFE and I've gone from 24 hours a week teaching to 3
Lindy Milles says: STOP TAFE CUTS!
Barbara Cronin says: We cannot leave the vocational training of our people to the private sector. Look around you, it does NOT work. We need someone somewhere to put students first NOT profit. For the youth of NSW DON'T sell TAFE...PLEASE!
joan Rooney says: I'm sick of this government trying to take away things us Australians want & love!
annette milverton says: SOLIDARITY
Kim Box says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Rachel Fentiman says: How will cutting education funding make our society better? I always thought well educated people made for a great society and in this day and age, we need this more than ever!
Mathew Schulz says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Graham Carman says: I'm on a pension and hate not having $$$ to help my children get further education so they don't end up on the dole long term. For instance my daughter just finished high school and wants to learn hairdressing because she has no skills to actually get a job. Problem is; Cert 3 in Hairdressing is $10000 and Tafe needs 25% up front. Looks like she's destined to be totally reliant on the dole as I cannot afford the $2500 up front let alone $10000 for the full course. Surely its better to subsidise tafe courses rather than pay the dole long term for our kids. Unfortunately the governments stance on this confirms they are intent on creating a total welfare state.
Kuan-Jung Li says: Stop the cuts
Justin says: Tafe is a great resource for everyone. I don't think I would be a Paramedic now if it wasn't for Tafe. I know many people who have studied at Tafe and it opened up so many doors and created opportunity for them.
Catherine Hall says: stop tafe cuts.
Cheryl Nicholas says: Stop Tafe Cuts!!!
Petrina Williams says: Stop TAFE Cuts!
Dr Lewis WILLIAMS says: With some evidence that private T&F education providers are either scams or shams, it is up to state TAFEs to provide legitimacy to the T&F education sector. For a smart country, Australia in general & NSW it particular are looking pretty DUMB in my mind. We need more & better qualified workers, cuts runs counter to that need. LeW
Lesley Purvis says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Karen Adams says: We need teacher - student interaction time, that's what learning is all about. Not cutting that time.
Mukesh says: I would like to attend this enquiry as I have fair bit of idea how a few dodgy brokers are misusing the scheme
Brett says: Jodie Schmidt is an absolute moron who has no idea as to the problems or issues TAFE faces. She needs to be removed from her *EXORBITANTLY* paid, politically appointed position immediately before TAFE reaches a point from which it will NEVER recover…unfortunately that may have already come to pass at the hands of the inept and incompetent mismanagement of the idiots appointed to senior managerial roles
Marie-France Stockdale says: TAFE has transformed the working life of many people I know. It allowed them to become more productive, self sufficient, empowered, prosperous, healthy and happy. It has the most impact on people who have a low income and few other options. There are huge obvious benefits for all of NSW when TAFE improves the productivity and prospects of our citizens. Reducing access to TAFE education impoverishes our people, economy, society and culture. We will all pay the price if TAFE access is not reinstated- with skills shortages, higher crime, welfare dependence, depression, suicide and violence.
Jane says: TAFE education needs to be available to our children and grandchildren at affordable prices and with teachers who have the skills, knowledge, expertise and with continued industry experience and partnership! Opportunity to up-skill or change employment without excessive cost and to broadly support the learning of young, middle-aged, second time round citizens, disadvantaged and older citizens through appropriate support eg for second chance education, trades, for Indigenous Australians, disabled, slower learners and provision of support through Language, Literacy and Numeracy to assist with student success.
shannan campbell says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
amer says: Education for all thank you
gina marcela escobar says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Brendon Kellett says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
regina silivio says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
GulayAtmaca says: Stop TAFE Cuts!
Rowena Rodriguez says: Education should be free for all
Bircan says: Education should be free for all
Entesar.Baharmast says: education should be free for all people
Margarita acevedo says: education free for all
Winget soliman says: Education should be free
Yudong.Jie says: Education should be free for all.
kobra mahboubi says: education should be free for all
Saleha Naseri says: education should be free for all.
khadija fathi says: education should be free for all
Grahame Bowland says: These cuts are shameful. The shift of the cost of education onto students, loading young people up with debt before they can even get started, must be reversed.
Lachlan Smith says: Cutting back on education is dumb.
wendy mclean says: We need a strong, reliable and honest system of vocational education, and this is exactly what TAFE provides. TAFE and its teachers should not be undermined by cuts, closures and attempts to replace fully qualified teachers with trainers.
Ingrid Brewster says: Stop cutting funding to any type of education. It's a liberal government tactic to keep us down!
Gaurav Sinha says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Phuong Hoai Huynh says: I scored a low ATAR result that would not have qualified me for any university courses that I was interested in. TAFE was my second chance to gain industry relevant skills and be employable. Thanks to the wonder teachers who even recommended me for my first job, it has lead to a very fruitful career thus far that has taken me all over the world working in the I.T field. This opportunity should not be denied to people in need.
Tony Pracy says: I am currently a student at Central in Northbridge in Perth WA. I will do what I can do to challenge the broken promises made on the 06/0913. "No cuts to education" I'm in graphic design, so I'll post memes on Facebook. Please keep me updated. Regards Tony
gary bennell says: Continued attack on public education and school teachers by governments. They continue to denigrate and blame. TAFE is ours not the plaything of big business.
Andrew Clifton says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Renae says: STOP CUTS!!
Benjamin Davies says: Stop these ridiculous cuts, how are we supposed to get a "better job with better pay" if you increase the price of education tenfold???
Carley Norrie says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Joanna Church says: Stop the cuts - says it all really! Education should be available through our government. At 33 with no qualifications, I started taking courses at TAFE, these helped me to become a manager for a government department and it led to further university education. We have to stop TAFE cuts!
Jesika Trpeska says: I support education!
David Saunders says: I work in the Home School Liaison team for the Dept of Education and we have referred countless young people to the outreach programs. Crows Nest TAFE is being closed and the Automative Spray Painting Course is being closed for 2016. This is after Carpentry was shut last year. Are we saying that young people are worth investing in ? What is the cost benefit analysis of a young person gaining training and employability skills via TAFE as opposed to just casting them out of school onto welfare and whatever else. I don't get why we are doing this. Invest in TAFE, don't cut it !!!
Rebecca Rutherford says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Jayne Sharpe says: Students from low socio economic backgrounds need free and equitable TAFE so they can improve their opportunities to attain good employment. This will allow them to become self sufficient.
Marina says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Tracey Wright says: We need TAFE
Pauline sahyoun says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Angela Gillam says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Sue O'Brien says: If it weren't for the the TAFE Youth Outreach programs offered for students who are not thriving in a systemic education program offered by Government and Non-Government schools, students just like 'Alan' would have poorer educational and career outcomes. Alan was a Yr 8 student referred to the Department of Education Home School Liaison Program because of very poor school attendance, he was unmotivated to get up in the mornings to attend school, his mother had difficulty recognising the value of education and the bigger picture for Alan,and continually sabotaged efforts to improve Alan's educational outcomes. Alan exited the Home School Liaison program when he turned 15 (with little change in his prospects for improved educational and career outcomes). The future looked bleak .......Two years later I had the pleasure of attending a TAFE Youth Outreach Graduation at Meadowbank TAFE for current Home School Liaison clients and was elated to see Alan among the Graduates to receive Certificates in various courses (hairdressing/beauty, landscaping, car maintenance) and in Alan's case working toward a Diploma in Indigenous studies. The pride in the students (and family and friends) was palpable. Here they were - heads held high,proud to be on the dais accepting their Certificates acknowledging achievement (that rarely occurred for them in mainstream education). TAFE Youth outreach courses under the stewardship of Daena Tyerman and Dorothy Francis at Meadowbank alone, supported and nurtured students to realise potential for better educational and career outcomes than were ever thought possible. THE MESSAGE - Stop the TAFE funding cuts across the state particularly for Youth Outreach programs (smart and skillled is not the same) so people such as Alan and thousands of disengaged students like him can have the option of a better future.
Frank Tweedie says: Stop TAFE Cuts!
Julie Russell says: Submission re TAFE Julie Russell, BA (English Hons) TAFE Teacher 23 years. English/Communication, Study Skills, English as a Second Language, Students with an Intellectual Disability, etc.etc. Wide range of experience of students and courses at TAFE colleges Granville, Liverpool, Macquarie Fields, Miller, Campbelltown. TAFE is far more than what is taught in the course. All the above colleges are close to the invisible Sydney GHETTOS of Macquarie Fields, Claymore, Airds and Miller. So students coming to their local TAFE are taking the first steps from a massive quagmire. Inevitably, for many, their baggage is enormous. You have to teach course content without scaring off students who've failed school, have no books at home, may have low literacy but adult responsibilities. These are just some of the scenarios I have personally experienced. 1. I asked a young student in a night class, who looked physically unwell, was she OK. She stayed back after class, revealed she was withdrawing from heroin. I needed to support her and connect her with the TAFE Counselling. 2. A student had collapsed in class with a severe, untreated infection. Her background as a homeless student, was revealed. When other students saw how she was handled, they revealed incidents of their own self harm (cutting).which involve more referrals. 3. A very young student was in class but could not be drawn to work. After several classes she revealed she had just lost a full term baby. All the staff supported her for several months and saw her regain balance and finally some good results 4. A capable young school TVET student was very distracted. As part of Study Skills, (his own time management exercises), it was revealed he was working 30 hours per week as well as going to school and TAFE. We wove his experience into class learning. He adjusted and achieved a good result. TAFE is an escape from those difficulties while they are in class. And that they are progressing in their education, which ultimately helps all those difficulties too. Almost all students revealing difficult circumstances continued on to complete their courses. In TVET Child Studies, school students came from more than five different sorts of high schools, private and public. I asked all of my high school students- which did they prefer, school or TAFE? Unanimous answer : TAFE. the greater freedom,(which was rarely abused) and being treated as adults. Saving money? Intellectual Disability Support has been dealt massive cuts for various “reasons”. Because of the low student teacher ratio, much money has been “saved”. Despite the inhumanity of these decisions (parents have rung TAFE in tears of desperation after specialised support course cuts),even on an economic level, this makes no sense. An astonishing majority of people in prison have intellectual disabilities. Because of the ghetto type background of many students, especially in the lower certificate courses, TAFE and adjusts its approach and expectations and manages to retain many who would otherwise have gone to jail. Which is cheaper to administer and run? TAFE or jail? Because many students have both learning and psychiatric disabilities, there was a special certificate 2 in Business Administration with support teachers in both these areas. Students with schizophrenia and/or anger management issues, would miss class to face court. Psychiatric support teachers were brilliant in assisting the students back on to a study path. Which is cheaper to administer and run? TAFE or psychiatric institutions like Waratah House? I would estimate the difference would be easily three times as much as TAFE. TAFE: REPUTATION On the local/state/Australian level, TAFE has such a good reputation. It is it's own word – the ultimate “branding”. In answer to the question, “What are you doing after the HSC?”the answer is not “Going to post secondary education provider.” The answer is “TAFE.” TAFE has never been regarded with anything other than respect by the general public. There have never been corruption scandals,or a reputation for being able to buy your result. If you have a result from TAFE, the Australian public has always expected that you can do the tasks that you are trained for. To achieve this reputation, as well as policies and procedures, the actual physical presence of the institution, I feel, plays a huge part. Teachers see and hear each other, both face-to-face and on the periphery. In this way, there is great pressure to do the right thing, maintain integrity and real standards. As soon as I heard of private providers, working in isolation, I expected corrupt “tick and flick” assessment results. To save massive amounts of time, and therefore money, providers gave students a result without any training or meaningful assessment. This has happened over and over. Talking to the International Coordinators, I found, TAFE also has a greatly respected reputation overseas. Even in countries, with known corruption in their own education institutions. Why then is TAFE being reduced and cut back? I believe Education in New South Wales, is the second or third highest earning industry. Why then is TAFE, with its incredible reputation, both locally and overseas being cut back and watered down? This is economic madness. It saves money in the short term, but kills the goose that lays the golden egg.
Geoff Nattrass says: As a person who has both been a student of TAFE plus applied for positions as a casual teacher at TAFE; all over the past 15 years - I cannot find one positive thing to say about TAFE. It has to be the most incompetent organization in education Australia wide.
Fiona Phillips says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
leanne kennelly says: i do not wish my name published
Lex Metcalfe says: Submission to Upper House of NSW Parliament inquiry into Vocational Education and Training • My name is Lex Metcalfe. I have been a TAFE VET science, manufacturing and water industry sectors teacher at Illawarra Institute for 32 rewarding and satisfying years. I request my name be withheld from publication due to risk of workplace retribution. • I have taught hundreds of students both on campuses and in workplaces most of whom have attained their desired educational and career goals and contributed to the social and economic value of NSW. They have added value to our society and economy and enriched their lives and the Australian communities whereby the Government investment in these students has provided more value in return than has ever been the cost. • Whilst the majority of students have been technical pre vocational or employed people many have been from migrant, disadvantaged, indigenous and disabilities backgrounds. I have issued qualifications to unemployed and retrenched citizens over the economic ups and downs of the Illawarra (eg. Tallawarra Power Station, BHP, Bluescope Steel etc). Many have also furthered their educational development beyond TAFE and acquired Univerity Degrees. • TAFE has been a qualityand trusted educational provider and has maintained valued status in the community and employers alike. Employers are confident a TAFE graduate is competent. Indeed the NSW skills base at the VET level has arisen from TAFE. • TAFE was accessible both geographically and with vocational diversity. In recent years under Government policy this has significantly reduced with fewer courses, prohibitely higher fees and fewer accessible locations. • For example most of the water industry operators from the NSW southern border to the Snowy Mountains, Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven have been and continue to be trained/qualified by my staff and I. Most recently there have been affordability issues impacting on this skilling with Cooma Shire Council being unable to afford the training cost and having to opt for their less preferred cheaper online delivery model. Indeed Eurobodalla Chire Council tried that option for two years and due to the poor educational provision returned to Illawarra for more sound VET. • Purported greater access via online has poor outcomes due to the tactile nature of many vocational skills the workers and their educational acceptance/need for on site tuition. Clearly online completion rates are very low in comparison to on site/face to face participation. Employers attest to such. • In the last couple of years I have delivered to disabilities enterprises and face to face VET is the option that works for completion rates and truly competent employees. Flagstaff in the Illawarra is a finalist in this years’ State Training Awards.TAFE is their preferred RTO and I am and have been their teacher. In past years other students of mine have also been finalists in winners of the Trainee of the year award. • This submission is not about me however. It is about the achievements of VET public not for profit education now partially and on the way to dismanltlement under government policy in particular Smart and Skilled. The private for profit sector is mostly delivering in many instances much reduced quality learning (eg Evocca). The not for profit private sector (eg community colleges) are still very good VET RTO’s. Educational resources (money) provides financial gain and less and less for education by the for profit private RTO’s and so the integrity and quality of VET is being diminished. This has been proven in other States such as Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. NSW is no different. • Costs of fees since Smart and Skilled has excluded many students from VET not just TAFE. TAFE colleges are ready for closure for example Dapto which is in the highest population growth area in the Illawarra. Students who qualify for limited funding will have to travel further to access VET and with poor transport infrastructure will not be able. Fashion courses in the Illawarra are evident of this problem. 1000% increase in fees for a Diploma and travel to Sydney to access. • This year with Smart and Skilled I have had students with part time work not be able to access concessions and and so have not been able to study Laboratory Skills courses to change and /or improve their employment situations. Indeed another example is the Diploma of Environmental Technology which since it was introduced over ten years ago has always had viable class numbers and has provided the needed technicians for heavy industry in the area. This year no enrolments have occurred and those enquiring cite cost as the barrier. • TAFE itself is now in a commercial competitive environment and now resources and personnel are being redirected from the classroom to publicity and marketing. Dollars go from the student and learning resources to areas of commercial survival. That is not cost effective funding into the VET sector. • The future is grim for VET in NSW. Enrolments are down across the State whether public or private. Students go for lowest cost and are being defrauded by profiteers with inducements. A disabilities (intellectual) student doing a CII told me only yesterday that when he completes his qualification he will enroll in a Diploma of Digital media with a private provider because he will receive a free laptop and won’t have to pay back the course fees until his income reaches over $50000. True but an unlikely outcome awaits him. NSW State Gov will provide the funding but will probably never see a return. Many loans will never be repaid and taxpayers will not be better off for the policy that rewards dodgy RTO’s. Vocation in Victoria is evident of such practices. • Many skilled and capable industry part time teachers at TAFE have no work now due to diminished courses. They will and have moved on and they will be a lost asset to education and training in quality institutions. Illawarras’ air quality teacher for example is the Bluescope air quality projects manager. He has no work with us now and that skill is lost to Smart and Skilled. There are no private providers of this qualification unit. • Smart and Skilled has no record of success in increasing the VET sector skill base of our workforce and I suggest it never will. What future does this project for NSW in a globally competitive economy? Long after the policy makers have moved on NSW will suffer. Julia Gillard set the situation in motion with contestable funding. She has moved on and there are no repercussions for her, just an unfortunate legacy for the majority of Australians. 14.08.2015
Cheryl amor says: I grew up in Windale a Housing Commission Estate in Newcastle with 3 siblings and a Mum. One of my School Teachers suggested that I go to TAFE and pursue a Career in Fashion. She knew I was poor and that staying in School or paying for Education was out of the question. Four years later I graduated as a TAFE Teacher and proceeded to spend the next 35years giving people the chance that was given to me. Practical skills in an affordable environment, that empowered me to use the skills, share the skills and be employed because of the skills I had been taught. I am grateful for the life changing experience provided to me and the Students I taught have had the opportunity to experience the same. This is an amazing organisation dont destroy it or pass it into hands of private providers who are looking for a quick profit instead lets invest in out future. Lets arm all our communities with affordable access to gaining skills. I have seen the effects of delivering programs for Aboriginal people and Refugees who through learning practical skills, gain confidence, learnt English, made life long friends, learned to work together with people that were different, the list is endless and priceless. The benefit to our community can not be measured by how much it cots to deliver 1 hr of Teaching. Tafe Teaches everything practically! the answer is here.
Steve Waye says: Smart and Skilled funding for qualifications was determined on the basis of the actual cost of training a learner. This was done in consultation with industry. For apprentice electricians, this was determined to be $13,180. Unfortunately, teaching sections within TAFE NSW are not receiving the full amount to be able to train apprentices as funds are being scooped off the top to pay for TAFE Institute overheads. For the electrician's qualification, almost $5000 is being taken to run the Institute, leaving only around $8000 for the teaching section to deliver to students. This has resulted in sections being forced to reduce delivery hours. The electrician's qualification (which has been developed by the National Skills Council in consultation with industry) has a nominal 1020 course hours. TAFE NSW has typically reduced delivery hours to 864, which is less than other states. Since the introduction of Smart and Skilled, teaching sections have been forced to reduce this even further to 720 hours, with a proposal of further reductions in the future. With this amount of delivery being cut from the course, the number of students failing units of competence has increased. This seems to go against the governments plans of trying to increase unit completion rates. Also, under the new funding model, students who fail a unit of competence on their first attempt are required to pay a commercial fee for a second attempt. This can be up to $1620 for each unit of competence. Previously the government funded students to repeat a unit if they struggled to get through it on their first attempt. So not only are students receiving lees tuition, they are being penalised with a commercial fee when they don't pass first time. The solution to this problem is simple. Restore core funding to TAFE as the public provider of tertiary education and training to allow it to run it's libraries, counselling services, disability support services, and everything else it is expected to provide as the state's public provider of education and training. Then the teaching section would benefit from the full amount provided under Smart and Skilled and could continue to provide the full amount of training hours as expected by industry.
Maree Jaloussis says: It has been shown worldwide that commercialising education has serious ramifications. TAFE has a solid and reputable name worldwide. These continuous attacks on the TAFE system by way of funding cuts and asking them to run on a $500 million new computer system that doesn't meet the needs of teachers is appalling and should be a sackable offence for an abuse of taxpayers money. The cuts to the Outreach programs for vulnerable teenagers followed by cuts to the Disability teachers to those who need help to function effectively in the community and further compounding of this by cutting counselling to students for only career issues will impact our society in ways that will cost much more further down the track then the dollars it costs to run these services now. As a TAFE Teacher of 18 years I have taught over 3500 students. Many of these have written to me over the years stating that had it not been for TAFE and the unique environment and services it provides to its students, they would not have been prepared to continue on to university nor have the skills to apply for various jobs. TAFE does more than just prepare students for university and the workforce, it provides life skills and guidance particularly to the more vulnerable people in our communities. Around the country the higher education sector has fallen to its knees as various governments attack TAFE and the results have been shonky providers only in it to 'tick and flick' students and make a quick buck. There is ample evidence that cutting of TAFE in other states has failed. Let's nationalise this great system, build on this great foundation and continue higher education to be our 2nd largest export. NOT DESTROY IT BUT GROW IT FOR THE GOOD OF ALL. AS PRIVATISING ONLY MAKES IT FOR THE GOOD OF SOME.
Robyn Miller says: Reading an article in Thursday 13th August Telegraph made me very annoyed. How dare the media pick up a story without the core facts on what role TAFE plays in our society and denigrating the teachers who make this happen? When I moved from my vocational job to work as a teacher at TAFE my salary halved. I chose to move into vocational education as I believed (and still do) that my skills needed to be transferred so my industry had skilled and knowledgeable people to provide a service in the future. Feeding people from a TAFE college that has been teaching people to cook since 1894. To be a TAFE teacher you need to have at least 2 qualifications (nurses, ambulance drivers, fire fighters and police only need one) to even pass the recruitment cull. Once employed the core of our workload is to manage the learning of future vocational and trades people and those who failed their first chance of education through the school system, all of which contributes positively to society. In rural and regional areas, even more so. . Yes most TAFE teachers are middle aged … because to meet the recruitment requirements we need to not only have a qualification in a vocational area but also have at least 5 years experience in those jobs to even be able to apply. You can’t enroll in a university course to be a TAFE teacher, and you can correct me if I am wrong, but to be a police officer, nurse or ambulance officer, you can enroll in a university course straight out of school and follow that career. TAFE teachers are never probies … we have to be experts in our field so we can apply for the job. Most rural and regional TAFE colleges are lucky to have 20% of the teachers delivering courses who are permanent employees. An over casualised teaching staff deliver the other 80% and these people are often the backbone of local industry who believe in helping their industry in their local area. The permanent staff spend most of their time making the policies happen that are brought down by the politicians and bureaucrats who sit in metropolitan offices and have little to no idea what happens in the real world out in the bush. Ask any TAFE teacher about the cost – both financial and emotional, of the impact EBS (the new beaut IT system that is meant to allow students records to be managed) has had on their workload. The system has cost the state over a billion dollars and that does not take the human factor of making it work into account. Yet the Tele tells us that it’s the teachers who are taking home “bloated salaries”. There are many TAFE teachers who have more (and higher level) qualifications than tenured university lecturers and most high school teachers. We are expected to participate in high level academic research but we still teach people the skills and knowledge to do a job. Not train them and assess them, but teach them. Teach them to learn, teach them to understand the vagaries of trades and vocational areas and teach them to be successful business people. Schools and only a few university courses provide that level of dedication to a vocational area provided by TAFE teachers. So when you want to have your car serviced, your drains unblocked, your computer fixed or your food prepared when you are in hospital, do you want someone who has a degree and only knows the theoretical aspects of the job or do you want a mechanic, a plumber, an IT guy or a cook who can sort your problem. Decimate TAFE and undervalue the level of learning that happens through the guidance and dedication of a TAFE teacher and you will get what you deserve.
Barbara Hobbs says: I am contributing to this upper house review of TAFE, NSW by the greens as l believe the current funding cuts are affecting many people who will not be given the opportunity to reconnect to training opportunities due to drastically increased costs and cuts to courses. I was one of those people who “didn’t fit in” to the secondary, educational environment of the day (having moved here from another state)and who enrolled at TAFE and completed a course which led on to a fantastic career in TAFE teaching. My “TAFE training experience” gave me confidence and empowered me to further my studies and complete another 2 degrees. I am still working today and contributing to the NSW economy. If l hadn’t accessed this pathway to further study and career opportunities through TAFE l wouldn’t have achieved this. This is not an isolated story. There are many other people, like me, who have been able to confidently come to TAFE in a supportive and affordable environment and succeed in achieving qualifications and employment outcomes. Over a long career, l have personally (as have other TAFE staff)supported students with their TAFE courses from all sorts of backgrounds –Aboriginal, disability, Youth at Risk and Non-English speaking Background students. In many, many cases these are the most vulnerable sections of society who other training providers ignore and put in “the too hard basket” or exploit for their own financial gains with little reward, as evidenced in recent media reports. There is no other RTO, except TAFE NSW which offers a positive environment and assists the most socially and economically disadvantaged and marginalised citizens of NSW. STOP THE CUTS!!
wendy freeman says: Who is engineering the 'Smart and Skilled movement'? . The credentials and the philosophy of those most responsible are in urgent need of review - the conceptual capacity of the decision makers is in question. Governments, politicians, changes, reforms come and go .... many believe that if there is no change, then there is NO PROGRESS ... this is a most misunderstood approach to progress. The moves that have been embarked upon by this government are totally lacking any foresight. All government departments and facilities should be seen as one connected WHOLE ... restructuring of 'skills training' needs to be addressed by a forum of competent educationalists, industry specialists and philosophers. To deprive the ordinary citizen of a 'reachable' education is only going to create a society of 'disconnected' individuals. More citizens will be lining up for the dole, more mental health problems will ensue, accompanied by a rise in crime and division. The govt has to come to the realisation that the 'elected' of the people are not truly representing their constituencies. Laws are being made without complete, comprehensive, 'connected' understanding of how the many govt depts and services interlink. In Australia, at the moment, we live in 'recessive' times - many are unemployed, many are being offered redundancies, many HS graduates are only able to find part-time work, Australian industry is all farmed out so fewer places for apprentices..... The govt has recently wasted $536million on an education record-keeping system that was thrown out by the USA years ago. MORE CONSULTATION ....more CONSULTATION .... bring brain power back to the discussion table. I completed an Auditing Diploma through TAFE last year. Nothing can match the expertise and attention of the teachers who delivered the course..... where will this be found in private industry? I have worked in the education sector there and I KNOW that the DOLLAR is the most important consideration to the detriment of wrongfully informing students of their proposed course structures and outcomes. EDUCATION is not a UTILITY .... it is a lifetime process ... it is connected ... it can't be priced like electricity and food items. Luckily, in Australia, the 'street people' can get a free meal on a cold night or a bed from Mission Australia.... these latter are BASIC needs. Education is MORE than a BASIC NEED is a CRUCIAL need ... engendering individuals with a SENSE of SELF - how on earth do politicians want Australian residents and citizens to STAND up and say 'I AM Australian' if those very same citizens are deprived the MORE than BASIC right of a comprehensive and useful and education. ...mORE CONSULTATION please ...NOW...
Norm Neill says: I have two concerns about the Smart and Skilled policy and the funding contestability model. 1. The great strength of TAFE NSW lies in its state-wide coverage. It has been this coverage that has enabled it to provide training and education such as the training scheme for returned service personnel from World War One, Day Emergency classes for unemployed people in the 1930s, training schemes for war workers and service personnel during World War Two, and the hugely successful training scheme for returned service personnel in the late 1940s. More recently, the statewide coverage enabled TAFE NSW to respond to the IT revolution that has occurred since the late 1980s, as well as developing and delivering courses to meet the needs of identified groups such as indigenous youth and women returning to the paid workforce. 2. Previous experience with private provision of vocational education and training has not been happy. Private training in the Ladies Hairdressing industry was of such poor quality in the early 1950s that it was banned, and more recent experiences with private English language and cookery colleges have been little better. I would also like to add my personal experience. Having left school early, I enrolled as a mature-age student to study for the HSC. The quality of the education I received enabled me to attend university, which in turn led to successful careers, first as a teacher, then as an historian and, most recently, as a poet. TAFE NSW is one of the jewels of NSW, one that is worthy of increased rather than diminished support.
Josephine Enoch says: Did my tertiary prep cert at 41, grad dip expressive therapy, completed at 52. Please continue the fight for working class people to get ahead
sarah gambrill says: TAFE is a very valuable institution that was once acessible but many Australians. TAFE needs to remain this way or we will see a decrease in trained and skilled workers.
Diane Dorizas says: Please save our TAFES. They offer wonderful training for Australia's future and the wellbeing of people to achieve a career.
Dilhara Gonsalkorale says: f) The application and effect of additional charges to TAFE students. I am submitting my experiences of the effect of Smart & Skilled on the courses we deliver in Accounting and Business related programs which are mainly Targeted Priority courses. Despite competition from Universities we have managed to hold our own these past decades and survive, due to I believe, the high standards of teaching we maintain. Many of our students progress to University and go on to acquiring CPA or CA qualifications whilst others enter the workforce at entry level Accounting employment. Until the introduction of Smart & Skilled the cost of a TAFE diploma could not be compared to a University qualification. But in the past few years we have seen a number of Uni graduates who have completed Commerce Degrees and are unable to secure employment in Accounting. Ironically, it is their Academic degrees that constrain them from entering the work force as they are now perceived as being over qualified. They also have not been subject to the rigorous technical training that we put students through at TAFE. Hence, they are not “work ready”. So they enrol at TAFE to obtain a Certificate iv in Accounting which can be completed in a relatively short period of six months at a fraction of the cost of a degree. Needless to say, they could have saved themselves a good deal of time and money had they started by completing a Cert iii or Cert iv, successfully gained an entry level accounting job and then progressed onto University. The fee hikes introduced by Smart & Skilled has exacerbated the issue further. We have witnessed a sharp drop in our student intake this year. In the past we have maintained fairly consistent enrolments of around 160 to 170 students per semester. This year it plummeted to 90 students in the first semester and the number has dipped even further in the second semester. Some of the reasons I can offer for this downturn are: 1. Student reluctance to enrol due to the increase in fees imposed in January this year through the Smart & Skilled Fee structure. A Cert iv less than a year ago cost around $500. Now, it costs upwards of $2,000. 2. The lack of information which led to enormous confusion at the beginning of this year which put off many potential students. We were instructed to direct students to the Smart & Skilled website rather than give them details of fees. This may have been partly due to the complexity of the rules surrounding the fee scheme and then again it could be cynically viewed as a means of introducing such a scheme with little forewarning to the public. 3. How students interpret the rules of entitlements in Smart & Skilled. I understand that some interpret it so narrowly as to deal themselves out of any entitlements. Many new migrants for instance who hold University degrees from their countries of birth are not eligible to access Cert iii level courses. However, this is exactly what they need to gain a foot hold in the workplace. 4. Following from 2 above, the issue of interpretation has imposed constraints on those seeking career changes. If they already hold a higher level certificate regardless of what Industry or area it relates to, they may not qualify for a Government subsidy. 5. Last but not least is the chaos caused by the implementation of a single new management system to replace the multiple systems that handled and reported on enrolments, student records, Rollbooks, Budgets etc. Whilst the overhaul was long overdue it was a bridge too far. This has led to serious problems with student results, enrolments etc that have been widely reported already. There has been a steady rise in Academic Credentialism through out the world. Australia is no different. The cost of training our workforce at University is prohibitively expensive due not just to cost alone but to the time spent in studying. Whereas training at TAFE is far cheaper, faster and more relevant to the work force.
shauna wilkinson says: Stop the TAFE cuts!
Leanne Harrold says: Stop Tafe cuts, educating our community is the most important Government responsibility.
Natasha Gee says: I attended my local public school and achieved 18.25 for my TER as I was bringing up my younger siblings and rarely studied. My mother was a single parent and went out to the RSL club every night straight after work until 10:30pm. I worked at Coles the year after my HSC and there I realised my mislaid potential. I enrolled at Seaforth TAFE to sit my HSC again. I achieved 73.15 which was enough to get into the Bachelor of Education course at Sydney University. I was the first member of my family to go to University. I understand now that the HSC course is no longer available to young people on the Northern Beaches and that the closest TAFE venue is Ultimo. If this was the case when I needed a second chance, I know I would NOT have caught a bus into the city (45 mins) and then another bus to Ultimo (25 mins) everday. I did this for Uni and I know that the hours that I studied for the HSC at the TAFE institute were more intense than the Uni classes I attended. In addition to the 8.5 hour days at TAFE, I would return home (30 mins) to study and extra 3-4 hours per night. Some young people do not have the positive and safe external influences that they need to achieve in high school, TAFE used to be an affordable second chance opportunity to those in the greatest need.
Kerry O'Donnell says: MY STORY • I trained at TAFE in the 1970s and this gave me a career in the textile industry. After some years I returned to TAFE, first as a part time teacher for 15 years and then as a full time design teacher for the last 17 years. Thus my original decision to study at TAFE was a sound entry point to my career and my contribution as a tax payer. TAFE’s CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY AND ECONOMY • Until the start of this year our design section at SWSI of TAFE, Lidcombe college, was a dynamic, award winning teaching section with many of our students gaining employment in the design industry on completing their courses with us. Some chose to continue their studies by articulating through to university degrees in industrial design, interior design and architecture with advanced standing due to the sound vocationally relevant TAFE training they gained with us. These ex-students also moved on to successful careers in these demanding and competitive design fields. Many of our ex-students have repaid their time with us by coming back to talk to our students, share their experience and pass on advice about career directions after TAFE. TAFE’S CURRENT DECLINE • With the full introduction of Smart & Skilled at the start of this year our section’s first semester new enrolments dropped by at least 60% overall due I think significant rise in course fees for Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses. • This year our Certificate IV Interior Decoration course was deemed not to be suitable for the Smart & Skilled government funding and the course fee changes from under $2000 to about $8000. As a result in this very useful entry level vocational course we had had only one enrolment, an international student who had to be grouped with the Stage 1 Diploma strand. In previous years we typically had 60 to 70 plus new enrolments in this very popular course. Many of these students then continued their studies with us at Diploma and Advanced Diploma level. This sudden drop in enrolments demonstrates that if a course is not given the Smart & Skilled government funding the course costs are prohibitive to many prospective students and also that our local students (most of whom, or their parents, are tax payers) now have to pay approximately the same as international students to train for a career if the course receives no Smart & Skilled funding. • As a result of losing our Certificate IV Interior Decoration feeder course, due to its now prohibitive cost, and the very low new enrolments for first semester 2015 in the Diploma of Interior Design & Decoration course (and none for the mid-year 2015 intake offer) it is now unclear if we will have the student numbers to maintain our sequence of Interior courses through the Diploma and Advanced Diploma levels and then into our recently established Bachelor Degree in Management (Design) with Federation University. FUNDING DECLINE – IMPACT ON MATURE AGE LEARNERS • Lidcombe College of TAFE is part of South Western Sydney Institute and while our student body is drawn from the greater Sydney area the majority live in South Western Sydney. For this demographic the increase in TAFE fees appears to be prohibitive particularly for mature age learners. This group typically returns to study to extend or to change their careers. The group is also made up of women seeking to return to work after staying at home for some years with young children. The previously properly funded TAFE system had, for many decades, provided pathways for these groups. • Our Interior Design and Decoration courses, prior to this year, generally had at least 50% mature age learners. However this year, only a couple of the new enrolments are in this category, with the remaining small enrolment being school leavers. It seems that mature age learners, particularly in South Western Sydney, have been frightened away from continuing their studies due to the increase in course fees. I assume that this is because the upfront course payment is prohibitive or the VET fee help loan will be yet another debt to manage on top of the other typical household costs and debts that mature age learners have to manage. If this trend continues what impact will it have on lifelong learning? FUNDING DECLINE – IMPACT ON ACCESS • TAFE has also provided a vocational starting point for migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, particularly women. It also provided them with the opportunity to mix and learn with people outside their immediate family and community groups. This provided an important opportunity for all of us to extend our social understanding in today’s diverse and multicultural society. TAFE fee increases have also resulted in a decline in enrolments from this group. FUNDING DECLINE – IMPACT ON TRAINING STANDARDS • Funding constraints for TAFE budgets and the pressure for TAFE to run on a profit based business model in competition with private providers has now got to the stage where each semester we are required to shorten the delivery time in our courses. Thus we are quite unrealistically expected to deliver the same training outcome in fewer and fewer hours. This pressure is unavoidably passed on to students since teachers increasingly have to cram the knowledge and skills, required for assessment of the units of competency (subjects), through to the students who have many different educational backgrounds, learning styles and varied literacy and numeracy levels. I feel that the Smart and Skilled policy should be renamed half-smart and half-skilled. WHAT UNDERLIES THE LACK OF FUNDING FOR TAFE? • Is there a link between the increasing use of 457 visa holders for employment in areas that cannot be filled by locally trained workers while at the same time the government is stripping funding from TAFE? Are we no longer, as a society, prepared to fund the training our own future workers?
Stephanie Callaghan says: I am an Aboriginal person who has received nearly all my training through TAFE Tamworth, Hunter and Taree. Without the availability and access to the courses I have taken over 20 years I would not have achieved the skills, knowledge and experiences in Business Management, Hospitality, IT and Community Services. Now as a business owner and preferred user of TAFE, I am horrified to hear that TAFE is being slashed again. I have seen so many benefits created by TAFE along with significant cuts over the years to TAFE. My most positive experiences were at TAFE with the flexibility given to me by my teachers and classmates. In contrast my experiences with private training providers have been less personal, less flexible and less supportive making it harder to complete the study. I would like to see money invested back into our state vocational education system that gave me so much over my career and the careers of many other Aboriginal people I know.
rayleen kay pfitzner says: To whom it may concern I’m writing to you to let you know that I am concerned about how the changes to funding for TAFE affects me and the opportunity l have to continue studying at TAFE. I am a low income earner doing my best to learn skills to get back into the workforce.TAFE has helped me grow in confidence and improve my skills through doing courses in literacy and numeracy and IT. I can no longer afford to come to TAFE if fees keep going up. It is not fair to me and other low income students like me who just want to get a job .Our Teachers are hardworking, caring people and many may not have enough work at TAFE in the future because courses are being axed. Higher fees means less students, less students means less courses which means less opportunities to get the skills we need to get a job for the future. Not fair! Not right! Concerned student

TAFE institutions around Australia are struggling under the impact of state budget cuts, and underfunding.

Courses are being cut, student fees have risen, campuses are closing and teachers are losing their jobs.

Communities across the country are rallying to support their highly regarded, world-class TAFE system.


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