The Centre for Policy Development recently published an occasional paper written by Christopher Stone, a research director at the Centre, entitled “Valuing Skills: Why Vocational Training Matters.”
Much of the report confirmed what we already anecdotally knew about our TAFE institutes. TAFE teachers see every day “that substantial benefits from VET accrue to individuals, the economy and society.” We know that TAFE provides opportunities to the most disadvantaged members of our communities. We know that TAFE graduates are valued in the community. We know that TAFE is best equipped to support the needs of industry. We see every day in TAFE institutes around the country, and reflected in newspaper articles, that the funding models in the VET sector, forced upon TAFE, are unsustainable.
While this report takes a secondary focus on NSW, its findings are more widely relevant as State Governments around the country continue to inflict harsh budget cuts and misguided policy upon TAFE. “Valuing Skills” urges NSW to learn from the mistakes of Victoria. Other states should take this advice on board before following down the same paths.
TAFE around Australia is in grave danger. If the attacks in Victoria, NSW and Queensland continue, and spread, the Federal Government must step in to ensure a viable future for TAFE.