Revitalising TAFE

Federation endorses the recommendations of the NSW Government- appointed Vocational Education and Training Review Panel’s first report, released on 25 March.

Recommendations include: prioritising permanent teaching roles; changing TAFE governance; removing TAFE from the contestable funding market; clarifying TAFE NSW’s role and purpose; revising operations, assessing current infrastructure; and streamlining funding for TAFE through direct appropriation and certainty.

In 2023 — at roundtables, in survey responses, via submissions and at a forum with Federation TAFE union members — Federation members in TAFE colleges and schools told VET Review panellists what is needed to ensure that TAFE can rebuild and regain community confidence as a high-quality public education institution.

The union’s submission developed extensive recommendations based on consultation with TAFE union members. Federation’s recommendations included:

  • review student fees and charges to ensure all students only have a small yearly administration fee, according to qualification level, with appropriate fee exemptions for disadvantaged people on a Commonwealth social security payment
  • direct funding to teaching and learning, rather than administration associated with Smart and Skilled and compliance
  • abandon the Smart and Skilled policy and guarantee increased recurrent funding for TAFE, to rebuild vocational teaching and learning
  • allocate specific targeted funding to Access and Equity programs on a needs basis
  • reintroduce equity programs — Outreach community programs, Aboriginal education, support for students with a disability and students needing language literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • secure TAFE’s Access and Equity wraparound services, attracting, recruiting, and retaining permanently employed Outreach coordinators, teacher consultants for students with disability, multicultural education coordinator teacher experts and high-qualified careers counsellors
  • abandon the current TAFE student assessments as not fit-for-purpose; cease the competency-based 100 per cent pass mark
  • recruit, as a matter of urgency, permanent teachers to replace the thousands of teachers that have left TAFE teaching over the last decade
  • substantially increase salaries to attract and retain a skilled workforce in TAFE NSW
  • cut administrative burden for head teachers for Access and Equity program support including multiple enrolments, product viability forms, E Checklists, EBS missing marks, start and end dates
  • abandon the requirement for school teachers to undergo Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • establish joint partnerships between TAFE colleges and local public schools
  • undertake a full scoping of VET infrastructure across both local high schools and TAFEs.

The Panel’s first report responds to many of the concerns of Federation members. But there is much more to be done and TAFE students, teachers and communities can’t wait any longer to start the change needed. Check out our TAFE: NSW VET Review web page for more information.