Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle and Labor’s Shadow Minister for Skills, Prue Car MP, met with parents and former TAFE students in Wentworth Falls to celebrate National TAFE Day on Tuesday (June 13). In doing so, they recommitted themselves to Labor’s election policy to guarantee 70 per cent of all public funding for vocational education and training will go to TAFE.
TAFE’s Blue Mountains college has two campuses, at Wentworth Falls and Katoomba, offering a range of hospitality and tourism related courses. To meet the growing demand from industry and the local community, Blue Mountains college provides specialist qualifications in ecotourism and environmental studies.
In addition to these courses of regional strategic importance, Blue Mountains College also teaches information technology, community services, photography, business and financial services and beauty therapy courses, among others.
“Our local TAFE teachers know what local businesses and industry are looking for in the workforce, and they are tailoring theireducation and training to meet that demand. They are committed to the Blue Mountains community and today we are reaffirming our support for them and the excellent work they do,” Ms Doyle said.
Underlining the importance of TAFE to her family, Blaxland parent Marcelle Smith said “TAFE has been an absolute highlight in our lives”. Both of her daughters, Amy and Jemimah, have attended TAFE in recent years and this inspired Marcelle to go back to TAFE and undertake the Tertiary Preparation Certificate, which will allow her to go on to university.
The Shadow Skills Minister, Prue Car, backed in the call for public funding guarantees, and said, “We want TAFE to be the best it can. NSW Labor believes in TAFE and its role as the public vocational education provider which is why we believe in guaranteeing 70 per cent of all public funding will go to TAFE rather than private training providers.”
A string of recent scandals have plagued the private skills and training sector in recent years, with dodgy operators fleecing governments at a state and federal level of hundreds of millions of dollars before going bust and leaving students without a qualification and teachers without jobs.
In a speech to Parliament last month, Ms Doyle said: “All of these for-profit private education providers, with their noses in the trough, are being subsidised by the taxpayer but they are going belly-up one after the other, and we have to wonder how it keeps happening. Where is the money going? Why do they keep going bust? The whole thing stinks.”
Labor has promised that, if elected in 2019, it would establish a Private Providers Investigations Unit to crack down on private colleges that are rorting public funding and shortchanging students.
“TAFE has been gutted and left to survive on the smell of an oily rag yet private providers can run rampant with taxpayer’s money and fail to meet basic educational standards. We will put a stop to this racket and return that money to TAFE,” Ms Car said.