Not the direction desired

GIPPSLAND will have to brace itself for a significant economic blow amid fears of TAFE course discontinuations, according to education insiders.

An announcement from the State Government it would pull the plug on government subsidies for a number of courses earlier this month, has received strong criticism from Victorian TAFE providers, currently facing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue loss.

Fears Gippsland will be hit the hardest by the government’s decision has been raised by Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning and Employment Network chief executive Mick Murphy.

“With cuts to Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning in the past, the opportunities for young people going through school and transitioning into the skilled workforce are being chopped left, right and centre,” Mr Murphy said.

“It will potentially have an impact on the whole industry. It’s making access to these courses (affected by the cuts) more difficult than what it has been.”

Mr Murphy said government pledges the apprenticeship sector would not fall under the budget axe would instead result in the opposite. “Theoretically the government will argue that apprenticeships are not going to be affected but the accessibility of providing training to apprenticeships will be affected,” he said.

“GippsTAFE currently have a mixture of (programs) and by reducing one of its components, it will impact their capacity to deliver the rest of their programs.” He said organisations such as Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE relied on providing a diverse range of courses, and with some courses confirmed to be discontinued in July this year, the ramifications would be extensive.

Mr Murphy’s fears were shared by National Tertiary Education Union Victorian branch secretary Colin Long, who said contractors employed by TAFE providers to assist in the delivery of courses would now have to sever ties, resulting in “wide-scale” job losses.