Local events celebrate quality public vocational education

National TAFE Day celebrations were held around NSW on 19 June against the backdrop of a continuing crisis in TAFE funding and resourcing.

The TAFE sector remains the lowest funded of all education sectors and market reforms over the past decade have resulted in the decimation of the TAFE teaching and support staff workforce, skyrocketing course fees accompanied by plummeting student enrolments, campus closures, cessation of courses and a compression of face-to-face hours.

Despite the continuing attacks on TAFE by conservative state and federal governments, it was evident at Padstow and Bankstown campuses that students understand and appreciate the importance of a robust, properly funded public vocational education system in our communities.

These students are willing to engage in the political debate and they are making the connections between funding cuts to TAFE and the compression of their course hours. In one case, face-to-face time has been cut from 24 hours per week to just four.

While condemning the cuts to TAFE, students also spoke of the extremely positive effect that TAFE is having on their lives – skilling them in their chosen vocations, as well as giving them the confidence to take on higher qualifications.

It was inspiring to hear the story of one particular student, a young single mother, who has faced numerous personal challenges. For this young woman, TAFE had “saved her life” and having just successfully completed a Certificate III course, she now has the confidence and skills to undertake a Certificate IV course – her next challenge.

At Padstow and Bankstown campuses, National TAFE Day was marked with TAFE Day cake served up at morning tea, lunchtime and afternoon tea events.

Other formal National TAFE Day events in NSW were held at campuses in Armidale, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Gosford, Grafton, Hamilton, Kempsey, Lismore, Moruya, Kurri Kurri, Shellharbour, Ultimo and Wagga Wagga.

Celebrations were also held at Federation’s head office and a Change the Rules training day at Terrigal. Belmont and Broken Hill campuses have events planned for next week.

Annette Bennett, TAFE Campaign Coordinator