WHAT IS TAFE4ALLWA ALL ABOUT?
TAFE is a public institution which plays a critical role in the Western Australian community as a provider of skills and training for trade, professional and para-professional workers.
In addition TAFE Institutes provide bridging courses back to the workforce and a raft of capacity building programs for migrants, the disabled, retirees and ordinary community members who wish to develop skills, grow personally and contribute to our community.
The importance of Vocational Education has been reemphasised in recent years as consequence of two key factors, these being:
Factor 1: The 'extension of the leaving age' for students in WA schools with its requirement that young people be engaged in education, training and/or work up to 17 years of age.
The 'extension to the leaving age' has challenged the education industry to provide alternative pathways in years 11 and 12 which will engage and skill young people who would otherwise not be in education.
For many school students this has been through Vocational Education and Training (VET) provided through TAFE.
The national aspiration to see more and more young people engaged in education beyond their school years has seen the expansion of TAFE courses 'bridging' into diplomas and degrees through universities and even in TAFE institutes.
Factor 2: Activities in the economy including expansion of the resource industry and a huge growth in the construction industry as a consequence of resource development and the Federal Government's economic stimulus packages including for school buildings.
Such economic activity has revealed the current vulnerability of Australia in terms of workforce capability. Demand has resulted in pressure to manage skilled labour shortages by simply turning to overseas labour markets.
The challenge to industry and governments is to recognise past shortcomings in skilling our workforce and to expand our training programs. Building our own internal workforce capacity must be a central objective.
Responding to industry demand and providing opportunity for Australian workers are two fundamental planks required in a national workforce plan and a responsibility of governments.
In recent times, it would be fair to say that industry and state/federal governments have not 'walked the talk' in provision of trades training. This is particularly distressing when we see in Western Australian some pockets of high unemployment, particularly of youth, as well as other workers missing out on opportunities for training and employment while industry pursues overseas labour.
Provision of training and development through TAFE must not be limited to the now, but enable forward thinking and planning to scope and deliver opportunities which will prepare our workforce for future needs and future jobs.
The Western Australian Government has TAFE institutes currently delivering quality training throughout the state. Through TAFE institutes the Western Australian Government has the key to redressing our approach to training and skill development such that our community, our economy and our people will benefit.
In 2009, the Victorian State Government introduced reforms that dramatically reduced access to affordable quality training.
The WA government has announced that it will introduce similar reforms by January 2014.
This agenda will:
We must retain our quality WA TAFE network.
TAFE is trusted and delivers for individuals, industry and community.
The WA Government should place WA students, their family and workers FIRST and increase investment in training so that ALL Western Australians can benefit from the boom.
...how will they serve the WA public, WA workers and the youth of WA?
The SSTUWA and its members working as lecturers in TAFE institutes are seeking assurances that the Western Australian Government, and the various state political parties, will not destroy our public training system … TAFE institutes.
The SSTUWA and its members working as lecturers in TAFE institutes are worried at the state of TAFE in Australia.
Why would we be gravely concerned that the public TAFE system might be destroyed?
Just look at what is happening in Victoria under these so called 'funding reforms'.
ACCESS & EQUITY
What do we want for TAFE from the Western Australian Government and various state political parties?
Genuine commitment to TAFE as the public provider with funding increases sufficient to meet current demands and to prepare for new and innovative training programs to meet future needs.
Funding allocations which do not force TAFE colleges to take 'short cuts' with courses.
A planned funding model for TAFE which provides for the needs of industry, individuals and community now and into the future.
Recognition of the need to provide for 'second chance' education through TAFE institutions
Maintenance of the current entitlement access to multiple government subsidised qualifications over a lifetime.
A guarantee that student fees, charges and costs will be maintained at current rates.
Genuine commitment to TAFE provision in rural and regional areas.
Resourcing for TAFE work place conditions which will attract and retain high quality and qualified lecturing staff.
TAFE is a vital public education institution
TAFE is the key provider of trade skills development
TAFE has a critical role in second chance education
TAFE is a community builder
It is time for the Western Australian Government, and the various state-based political parties, to commit to strengthening and expanding the provision of trade, professional and para-professional training through the TAFE system.
It is time for the Western Australian Government, and the various state-based political parties, to commit to supporting a public TAFE system which makes provision for community access and equity programs.