TAFE enrolment numbers drop

TAFE enrolments have plummeted, hitting a five-year all-time low.

Figures dropped by 13 per cent for government-subsidised courses in the first half of 2015 and Federation Training chief executive Wendy Wood said the training institution had also experienced a decline in numbers.

“In line with Victoria’s vocational education sector overall, there has been a decrease in enrolments across Gippsland over the past year,” Ms Wood said.

“(State) Government has recognised these indicators and they are working with us to improve affordability and access to vocational education.”

Ms Wood said as Gippsland’s only publicly-funded TAFE, Federation Training was making every effort to ensure they could continue to provide the quality courses sought by Gippsland students and local industries.

“(The State Government is) also providing support to ensure we keep our campuses across Gippsland open and available to provide local education options,” she said.

She said the vocational institute had secured funding for the 2016 school year, including $2.16 million for a cross-sector Paddock to Plate program.

“We have (also) recently launched our 2016-2018 Strategic Plan which is focused on growing skills and creating futures,” Ms Wood said.

She said the training facility would continue to monitor community interest and business skills, and evolve its courses based on the needs of Gippsland and Victoria.

Training and Skills Minister Steve Herbert said the State Government was making major reforms to the vocational system which would strengthen TAFE institutes.

“But it will take some time for those changes to filter through the training system, for employers to get greater confidence in training and for students to get greater confidence that if they do training they will get a job,” Mr Herbert said.

He highlighted Gippsland’s new skills and job centres-announced late September, and the $2.5 million grant for student advice centre, The Bubble, as examples of the government’s commitment to vocation education in Gippsland.