Tertiary sector unites in funding concern

NSW Teachers Federation Illawarra TAFE organiser Rob Long.

NSW Teachers Federation Illawarra TAFE organiser Rob Long.

Staff and students of TAFE campuses across the country voiced concerns over cuts to the institutions as part of National TAFE Day on Wednesday.

NSW Teachers Federation Illawarra TAFE organiser Rob Long said the day of action would highlight the need for state and federal governments to support the TAFE system, rather than make cuts.

While Tuesday's state budget revealed a $1.8 billion investment in TAFE institutes across NSW, Mr Long said this did not accurately represent the experiences of TAFE teachers and students in the Illawarra.

"On the ground courses are being cut, teachers' hours are being cut, some teachers are being made redundant," he said.

"We're concerned that there's teachers who are losing work, or in some cases the courses are being reduced so students are getting less hours."

He said there were particular worries in the region about the future of Dapto TAFE and a reduction in study time for trade students.

Shadow minister for vocational education Sharon Bird raised concerns about cuts to a number of TAFE programs across the country, including Tools For Your Trade and the Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program.

Keira MP Ryan Park also flagged his displeasure with the NSW government's decision to slash the capital works budget for TAFE infrastructure from $107 million in 2013-14 to $76 million this year.

Mr Long said the Federation would continue to campaign to halt the privatisation of vocational education in NSW.

"The history of TAFE getting people skills, getting them engaged with society and community and formal education, to get people really important skills to set them up for the rest of their life is based on a model of public education, not profit making."

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