Wodonga TAFE is doing more with less

TAILORING training for industry has helped Wod- onga TAFE avoid the money woes of several other institutes.

Half of Victoria’s TAFEs were running at a loss, in the wake of government funding cuts, it was revealed yesterday.

But Wodonga TAFE said while its funding had shrunk, it had delivered more programs on its tight budget.

It unveiled a net operating result for last year of $2.578 million, a profit of 7 per cent.

Just five years ago the net operating margin was $540,000.

Government income fell 8 per cent last year on 2012 and was up only 9 per cent since 2008.

Yet, it said, it had lifted program delivery 46 per cent in those five years.

A leaked assessment by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office said seven of 14 TAFEs were in deficit.

The briefing document showed the state cut TAFE operating funds last year by $119 million — 159 per cent — and buildings and equipment spending by $14 million — 36 per cent.

Students were charged an extra $32 million.

The struggling TAFEs were Holmesglen (four Melbourne campuses), Bendigo and Gippsland-based Advance TAFE.

The government slashed TAFE funding by $300 million in 2012, but the Premier Denis Napthine last year said $200 million would be spent over four years on “innovation and structural reform”.

Wodonga chief Michael O’Loughlin said its success was due to providing training that met the needs of industry partners.

“We have won contracts with government agencies such as the Defence Department and large companies in such areas as food processing due to our ability to deliver training flexibly,” he said.

“We have dramatically reduced our reliance on government revenue.”

Board chairman Tony Brandt was as equally buoyant, praising staff “for outstanding results in a very competitive training market”.

“Our focus on delivering quality training to our industry partners and our students has paid dividends,” Mr Brandt said.

“While some people will be attracted to providers offering low or no fee courses, they soon realise this is false economy.”