Border careers advisors have stressed the importance of healthy TAFE providers in the wake of revelations the NSW government has cut over $130 million from TAFE NSW since 2014.
Treasury documents revealed $8.8 million in cuts were budgeted for this year, on top of the $130 million cut post-2014 in staffing redundancies and restructuring.
The NSW government said the redundancy savings in the most recent two years – which equalled $70 million between 2016 and 2018 – were the result of removing duplicate layers of back office administration and management as part of the One TAFE reforms.
The One TAFE model, which launched in March 2017, streamlined the 10 autonomous TAFE NSW institutes into "one commercially focused organisation, supported by a single, lean corporate office," according to the most recent TAFE NSW annual report.
Albury Wodonga Careers Advisors Association president Dian Madden said there’s confusion over what TAFE NSW’s restructure means precisely for the organisation and potential students.
She said the changes had the potential to be really positive, but the new system was still “finding its feet”.
“It’s been a total restructure,” she said.
“We’re still trying to work everything out and what the changes mean.”
Mrs Madden said TAFE NSW was a vital pathway for students with private providers often costing more.
“TAFE is a really important pathway for people to get employment skills and get out into jobs, they have good industry connections and all that is vital for people and the community,” she said.
Catholic College Wodonga’s Sandie McKoy said about 20 graduates a year transition into TAFE and it was an important option for students.
Labor leader Luke Foley accused the state government of having inflicted "savage cuts to staff and courses".
Assistant Skills Minister Adam Marshall said no frontline teachers were lost in the One TAFE reforms.
- with The Age