Lorraine Watson gets a real sense of joy from seeing traumatised refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq start to get their life back on track through TAFE studies.
But the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) Wollongong TAFE representative fears for their ongoing vocational studies following the Federal Government’s decision to cut TAFE funding for Adult Migrant English Programs (AMEP) and the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program.
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews announced recently the government would cut funding TAFE Illawarra for these programs and have instead awarded contracts to private training providers Navitas (AMEP) and MAX solutions (SEE).
A ‘’bemused’’ Ms Watson and NSWTF organiser Robert Long met with Cunningham MP Sharon Bird to voice their concerns about the latest cuts to TAFE.
They believe more than 70 teachers and support staffing positions are under threat and over 200 students will be impacted.
‘’I can’t understand why this decision has been made,’’ Ms Watson said. ‘’The Illawarra service has a AAA compliance rating. I just don’t understand why all of a sudden a service which has worked really well would be taken away and given to another service.’’
Her views were shared by Ms Bird, who intends to write to the minister for an explanation.
‘’I want them to explain why a AAA rated provider hasn’t got the opportunity to at least offer and be funded to offer the option,’’ she said. ‘’You can only assume there is some inherent hatred of TAFE in the the Turnbull government.’’
Mr Long added losing the AMEP and SEE contracts would particularly hurt smaller ‘’rural colleges’’ south of Wollongong. ‘’We will pushing now to ensure the funding we’ve lost be replaced by both the federal and state government to ensure that we’ve got language and literacy and numeracy education for everyone who needs it in this region.’’