Western Teacher : Volume 44.2 February 2015
WESTERN TEACHER 11 MINH LAM, JOURNALIST “So many young Western Australians are keen to gain the skills that will help them find good, well-paid jobs but now many will fail to achieve their dreams,” Mr McGowan said. “Our state’s economy will be the loser without a strong, skilled local workforce. “I t ’s dumb and short-sighted to give our jobs away to overseas workers rather than train West Australians for work.” SSTUWA Vice President Samantha Schofield said TAFE student numbers had already decreased by 5200 in 2014 and there are fears of more dropping out if fees continue to rise. “If we are to have a successful economy we need a highly skilled and trained workforce and TAFE qualifications certainly provide that,” she said. Latest statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), released at the end of last year, show a 3.4 per cent drop in the number of students enrolled nationally in the publicly funded VET sector, from 1.94 million in 2012 to 1.88 million in 2013. This comes as national figures show a drop in vocational education and training sector (VET) enrolments during a time of rising student fees and charges. As flagged by the SSTUWA late last year, and reported in the Western Teacher last month, 2015 TAFE fees for some courses may rise by up to 640 per cent from their 2013 levels. A Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy will cost $4636 this year, as opposed to $626 in 2013. A Certificate III in Travel has increased by 515 per cent, while an Advanced Diploma in Engineering will cost about $11,019 this year, a 640 per cent increase over two years. Fee caps have also been abolished in some courses, leading to fears of even broader fee rises. Fee increases could impact students by making TAFE study unaffordable or trapping them into high debt levels. Labor leader Mark McGowan said fee increases would deny West Australians the skills needed to secure decent jobs and could lead to overseas workers being imported to fill shortages. The NCVER data also shows that student fees and charges recorded a 14.3 per cent rise in the 12 months to 2103 in terms of the sector’s operating revenue. TAFE FEE INCREASES A HOT TOPIC The disquiet about increased TAFE fees has hit the public arena, with the State Opposition believing that key trade shortages in WA will worsen as students find TAFE unaffordable.
Volume 44.1 January 2015
Volume 44.3 March 2015