Monday 13th of July 2020

saving money, killing the goose...


calling for urgent reforms...


While Ms Furness is going to take time out from the industry, many apprentices are not giving it a go at all. 

The Master Builders Association is so concerned about the decline in apprentices coming out of the vocational sector that they are calling for urgent reform. 

"The MBA is estimating that over the next five years 85,000 tradespeople will retire, and we are only expected to put through 44,000 in that time via the apprenticeship system," said the association's executive director, Brian Sadler.  "We are going to need tradespeople to do that job or the cost to the consumer will go up."

There are concerns about the quality of graduates too, as the 2639 teachers who have left TAFE over past three years depart with decades of experience. 

On Wednesday, the Engineers Australia Multi-disciplinary Committee released a report that said 85 per cent of Sydney's strata units were defective on completion. 

"The system needs to be tightened. Everyone is focusing on price, not on quality. Training is falling by the wayside," consulting engineer Charles Rickard said. 

Tradespeople looking for a change in direction are among those hardest hit, with the Smart and Skilled program not offering any subsidies for those with prior higher qualifications. 

Nowhere is that felt more than around the ghost town of Dapto TAFE – 14 kilometres away, the Port Kembla blast furnace looks set to be shut down and 2000 jobs will go up in smoke. 

The Illawarra region already has up to three times the national average of youth unemployment in the country. 

"Those people who need to develop a new skill set, they now have to seek qualifications at an exorbitant fee," NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron said. 

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If my memory serves me right TAFE was instituted by a Labor government and FUNDED by governments to encourage apprenticeship and help people "re-skill". A VERY MODEST enrolment fee was collected from students. It was very popular, including for older people in need of a new job. Now it appears that the students have to pay for the full tuition. And the government would be cashing in or breaking even... This is not the spirit of TAFE

when governments kill jobs and learning skills...

"The Department of Education offered us 'shut-up' money last term and allowed us to continue TAFE "taster" courses, that last about a week, which most of these kids have already completed," said Mr Tierney. "It just added insult to injury". 

Henry Rajendra from the NSW Teachers Federation said these children were destined for failure without the program. 

"The most distressing part is there is nothing for these kids next term. There is absolutely zero". 

A spokesman for the Department of Education said that as part of its budget allocation the Lomandra School receives funding for the innovative delivery of programs off site, including access to TAFE courses, work experience, part-time work and preparation for post schooling.

The Department has not commented on the extent of the cuts to the Lomandra School to Work program or whether the teachers from the Lomandra school would be allowed to continue to accompany the students to the local TAFE courses.


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Education annoys governments. On average, the more people are educated the less they want to be slaves. And education such as TAFE "only encourages young kids to become mechanics souping up their own cars and be up to no good with foot-size exhaust pipes". This disdain and sabotage of education of the "lower classes" from governments or from rich people is not new...

As soon as Public schools (read Private school) in England were developed, according to writers of the times, these schools were hot beds of debauchery and homes of useless teachings such as Latin or Greek. One rich Lord even told his son that he should not go to Eaton or such, should he want to become rich in life... 

Nonetheless, education is still the best way to construct a better social ideal. Private school if you want to have the same tie blue than your Liberal (CONservative) mates for a lifetime — or Public school if you want a proper job that will benefit society.

selling bits of tafe to destroy it slowly...

The New South Wales Government is considering selling or downsizing TAFE campuses in a bid to raise $63 million, according to a confidential document obtained by Greens MP John Kaye.

Mr Kaye has obtained a leaked four-page document titled "TAFE NSW Asset Investment 2015/16".

The document stated that "for 2015/16, TAFE NSW requires a $54.5 million increase to their Capital Expenditure Limit".

It then detailed "proposed divestments" and stated the "anticipated proceeds from asset sales [is] $63 million".

Chullora in Sydney's south-west is the most lucrative of the proposed sales, with the paper suggesting the site could be sold for $22 million and the services relocated to Granville and Miller.

Grenfell in the state's central west could also be sold for $1 million and Murwillumbah in northern NSW would bring in close to $3 million.

The document said TAFE NSW needed $32 million for Information Communication Technology services.

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"telling the truth is not helpful"...


Claims by the New South Wales Opposition and the Greens that 2016 is the last year to "rescue TAFE" are not helpful in the campaign to lure students back, the State Government says.

In November, Skills Minister John Barilaro announced a freeze on all TAFE fees this year as the Government attempts to stop falling enrolments.

Student enrolments in 2015 were about 83,000 fewer than in 2012, and about 3,000 TAFE staff have been cut over the same period.

It follows education funding cuts of $1.7 billion announced by former premier Barry O'Farrell.

Changes introduced under the Government's Smart and Skilled program also mean TAFE is competing with private providers for state funding and students.

"We have realigned the business model of TAFE but there has also been natural attrition with staff," said Mr Barilaro.

"When you see a decline in enrolments of course you're going to see a change in the workforce."

But Greens MP John Kaye said the Government's own policies had caused that decline in enrolments and some courses were 10 times the original price.

"The costs are now enormous. TAFE is no longer being seen by the Government as a public service but a commercial enterprise," he said.


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baird's vocational idiocy...


Baird opens way for private colleges to enter schools

This is the headline of an article in the PRINTED SMH but not available online. Baird's proposal is basically another step in the destruction of TAFE. 

It is especially concerning when, as the article points out:

"The NSW reforms come as multiple private training colleges have been deregistered and taken to court, after pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars in Commonwealth subsidies despite student completion rates as low as five per cent."


TAFE is far more successful and far more efficient that those crummy Colleges, but Baird wants more of them... 

the destruction of tafe...


The federal government would take over TAFE funding from the states under a radical plan to be presented to the states and territories at a high-level meeting in March.

Under the Turnbull government proposal, obtained by Fairfax Media, TAFE fees would be deregulated and TAFEs would receive the same levels of funding as private colleges in a bid to increase competition in the sector.



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Now we know the full picture. DESTROY TAFE brick by brick and turn it into a blancmange of ordinary college education. TAFE is great because the people teaching there often have worked in the business for years before becoming teachers of what they know.

Colleges teachers are often out of university with degrees long as my arm but more often than not, they have not worked in the industry they teach about.

I could be wrong, but this was the impression I got when I studied at TAFE for a couple of terms. 

lost in transaction...


TAFE NSW will pay consultants KPMG almost $6 million to track down missing student fees and course revenue after a software bungle threw TAFE enrolments into chaos.

NSW Auditor-General Tony Whitfield revealed last November that TAFE had a $525 million black hole in its accounts, and had failed its annual audit, because the software couldn't provide evidence of the fees being paid.

Despite assurances given by Skills Minister John Barilaro to Parliament last year that problems with the TAFE software system, LMBR, were being worked on, TAFE is still unable to locate the missing money.

KPMG will be paid $5.86 million between January and September to "produce complete and accurate revenue and revenue related financial balances for TAFE NSW" in time for the 2016 audit, contract notices show.


The work will include restating last year's balances and tracking down the opening balance before the controversial Smart and Skilled TAFE reforms were introduced in 2014.

KPMG has been told to find "sufficient and appropriate audit evidence" for TAFE's accounts.

Teachers had to resort to writing names on whiteboards during the 2015 January enrolments as the computer system crashed.

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Wow ! And it's only now that this comes to light... See toon at top.


destroying TAFE for ideological reasons...

Why do we keep assuming giving public subsidies to private providers of "human services" will work? The VET FEE HELP student loan scheme was a debacle that cost us billions and now we're going down the same path with the NDIS, writes Paddy Manning.

Both sides of politics are now engaged in predictable finger-pointing over the Commonwealth's $6 billion student loan scheme for vocational education, called VET FEE HELP.

As ABC's Background Briefing program has shown, the scheme was thoroughly rorted by a small number of private colleges and their brokers, who grew very rich, very quickly on taxpayer subsidies and have helped undercut publicly-owned TAFEs.

The truth is both sides of politics are responsible for VET FEE HELP and the political blame game only shows the real lessons have not been learned. VET FEE HELP is an example of policy-making founded on sheer ideology - shared on both sides of politics - and which persists in the face of demonstrable failure.

The Commonwealth's determination to open up TAFEs to competition from the private sector began under the Howard government, continued through the Rudd-Gillard years, and persists now under the Coalition even as it tries to clamp down on VET FEE HELP.

We are all familiar with the siren song of the free marketeer: increasing competition will increase consumer choice, lower costs, aid innovation. Often enough, that's true. Not this time.

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so far nobody has died...

The scandal of the destruction of TAFE is huge. But... 

When the Labor government organised salvation for the Australian economy by paying for the insulation of more than one million homes, the media and their cronies in the Liberal (CONservative) party went up in arms about the "waste of cash". Of course it was not. The insulation of over one million homes has saved a lot on energy bills and all the people I know who got the benefit are extremely happy with a saving of around 30 per cent on their electricity bill...

It's only when a few shonky operators employed unskilled workers who died that the program was stopped. One could wonder here if these shonkies had not been put up by the liberals to create mischief. I'm not going there. ONLY four people died during the application of this two year program, compared to around 200 death in work accidents, yearly in Australia. But the relationship between the government and the insulation program, stirred by a a rabid Liberal (CONservative) party in a rabid lunatic media took its toll on Labor. 

Meanwhile we don't hear much about the way private "colleges" have been used to decimate the public education system of TAFE by the Liberals (CONservatives), as well as rorting the public purse.

This is possibly so because no one has died so far OFFICIALLY. I have it from good authority that many of these private colleges have defrauded students as well as have defrauded the government, but apart from a few news items, here and there, nothing much is explored by the media which of course is supporting the Liberals (CONservatives) in the destruction of public institutions. The media should burn the Liberal (CONservative) government on this issue, where this once elegant solution (TAFE)  to the formation of apprentices and future employees, has been denatured and killed off by slow "privatisation".

So far no-one has "OFFICIALLY" died from this switch from public to private colleges, but of course suicides are not counted here. People would realise they have been swindled out of lots of cash and lost their honour as well as savings.

Here is one small tip of the iceberg:

Justice Perram is presiding over action taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to recoup $47 million of dollars of public VET FEE-HELP funding from Unique International College.

The ACCC alleges the college acted unconscionably in recruiting illiterate, disabled students from Aboriginal missions and remote areas by putting them in up to $25,000 debt through the inducement of a free laptop.

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The outcome of the hearing could set an important precedent for the regulator. Unique is the first of several colleges being pursued by the ACCC to be taken to court as the regulator looks to reclaim more than $300 million in public funding.

On Thursday, the last day of the hearing, Justice Perram cited "architectural flaws" in the VET FEE-HELP system but added the $130 million earned by Unique between 2013 and 2015 was an "enormous number".

"The thing [the ACCC] has going for them is that 130 million number," he said. "That is an enormous number. It is a huge number for a small school on top of a shop in Granville."

On Thursday, invoices tendered to court revealed the Sydney college paid more than $100,000 taxpayer dollars to the family businesses of the sister-in-law and wife of the college's owner, Amarjit Singh.

killing tafe...

A Baird Government demand that TAFE hand back more than $210 million will lead to young people being unable to get their feet "onto the skills ladder", the NSW Opposition said.

The Opposition has obtained documents showing the NSW Government made TAFE hand back the money, telling the educator it was "excess cash".

Labor obtained the documents under freedom of information laws, and they show the NSW Treasury demanded $250 million from TAFE in April 2015.

"Treasury, as part of a whole of government initiative to improve cash management, advised TAFE to reduce its cash balance by $250 million," the Treasury document says.

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hiring federal celebs in a cash for cam

The Block star Scott Cam will be paid $345,000 for 15 months’ work as the national careers ambassador, employment department officials have revealed.

In October the employment and skills minister, Michaelia Cash, announced Cam’s appointment to the role promoting vocational education, but refused to reveal his pay, arguing it was “commercial in confidence”.

On Thursday Nadine Williams, the deputy secretary for the skills and training group, revealed in spillover estimates that the value of Cam’s contract is $260,000 in the first year and $85,000 in the second year, excluding GST. The government has previously described the role as a 15-month position.

The appointment prompted fury from Labor and the unions, who called on the Coalition to stop hiring “celebrities” and properly fund Tafe and apprentices instead, claiming $3bn had been cut from vocational education since it came to office.


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It is Gus's humble opinion that The Block star Scott Cam should have declined the offer and argued for more "cash to TAFE" rather than "(Michaelia) Cash to Cam"...

free TAFE....

TAFE NSW has been swamped with 100,000 enrolments for its free short courses as teachers raise concerns about their quality.

The Premier Gladys Berejiklian said medical administration was among the most popular of the 21 free online short TAFE courses, which would usually cost $1000 each. Regional students accounted for more than half the 100,000 course enrolments.

"Encouragingly, the majority of the people who did the courses hadn't studied at TAFE, so they were new TAFE students, whereas just under half had been in a TAFE course before," she said.

The release of the enrolment details follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison's earlier criticism that an "unresponsive" training system was failing workers and employers, especially in the drive to kickstart a post pandemic recovery.

The Prime Minister said he would renegotiate a "fundamentally flawed" national skills and workforce agreement with the states to apply stricter rules on the way it spends $1.5 billion in federal funding every year

NSW Labor and the Teachers' Federation said the popularity of the free courses highlighted strong demand for skills training.

"People rushing to enrol in fee-free courses shows just how much they want an education but were restricted due to financial barriers placed in front of them," Labor's TAFE spokesman Jihad Dib said.

In a letter to the government, the NSW Teachers' Federation said TAFE NSW had taken the unprecedented step of employing assessors rather than fully qualified teachers.


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workchoices mark III


Welcome to the TAFE political football...


a ghost workshop...

Despite the Prime Minister's plans for a skills-led COVID-19 economic recovery, Australia's biggest and oldest vocational education provider, TAFE, has had courses and budgets slashed, a new survey has found, with students saying it resembles a "ghost town".

Key points:

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison sees skills as the key to Australia's economic recovery from COVID-19
  • An Australian Education Union survey has found 81 per cent of TAFE staff had their departments' budgets cuts in the past decade
  • Half of staff said class sizes had increased even with the cuts

A once-in-a-decade State of our TAFE survey of more than 1,000 staff from all of the provider's institutions has laid bare the real impacts, with staff "demoralised", students missing out on classes and funding reduced to a decade low.

The survey, conducted by the Australian Education Union (AEU), reported that 68 per cent of TAFE staff had courses cut, while 81 per cent had departmental budgets slashed.

About half of respondents said class sizes had increased.

"[It] has had a direct impact on staff morale in terms of course closures, campus closures and loss of opportunities for our students," AEU national president Corenna Haythorpe said.

"What we know is TAFE is the trusted brand.

"Scott Morrison has said very clearly that he wants to see over a million Australians back in work and yet his rhetoric around vocational education simply omits to mention TAFE."


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