TAFE in Australia: beyond survival
TAFE colleges and campuses across Australia have been significant key public education institutions for over four decades. The educational mission and breadth of the important work that TAFE does is unfortunately not well understood or recognised.
May was a big month for the vocational education sector. First, the Commonwealth Government has indicated it will scrap the National Partnership Agreement with the States and instead establish a skills fund dependent on host worker visa fees. This implies another significant funding cut for TAFE.
Over the last three years Victoria University’s Work-based Education Research Centre (WERC) team has undertaken a series of studies into the recruitment and retention of women in traditionally male trades such as automotive and electrical. In our most recent research we investigated the experiences of tradeswomen and female apprentices in the electrical and electro technology industry. In this article I’m going to discuss a few of our findings including some implications for TAFE teaching.
TAFE Colleges, and their predecessors, have long fostered the growth of Australian artists, and the cultural and artistic landscape in Australia. From pre-eminent Australian painters such as Sidney Nolan and John Olsen to street and contemporary artists like Rone and Tracey Moffat; musicians and bands such as Augie March and Troy Casser-Daly; fashion designers from Akira, to J’Aton Couture to Lisa Ho; filmmakers, animators, dancers, writers – so many of the talented people who have shaped Australia went to TAFE.
The 2017 Federal Budget delivered nothing for TAFE or TAFE students, and is a continuation of the Turnbull Government’s attack on the sector, and its failure to provide policy leadership or support.
In December 2016, the notorious VET FEE-HELP scheme was replaced with a new scheme – VET Student Loans. The Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, claimed the new scheme would “secure the future and reputation of Australia’s high quality vocational education and training system.”