DANI Miller balances her time between working part-time at her mother’s hairdressing salon and studying so she can do the bookwork.
But she’s worried about the future of her South West TAFE business administration course which will be hit by big cutbacks in government subsidy.
“I was planning to do more courses, but there’s no way I could afford them under the proposed new fees which could cost thousands of dollars,” she said. “I was lucky enough to have tuition fees waived for this course.”
Fellow student Kalli Brown is studying 13 subjects in six months as well as holding down a part-time job in her aim to further her work career. She now fears her ambition will be cut short when sharp fee increases come in from July 1.
Her partner recently lost his job in the IT department at South West TAFE as the institution started to absorb the impact of huge funding cutbacks.
The Warrnambool woman is among about 50 people studying business certificate courses at the Warrnambool TAFE campus who are worried about their future.
Many are parents who find the study hours fit in with their commitments and others who are retraining to get back into the workforce or change careers because of health reasons.
TAFE has indicated it will announce next week a full list of courses to be cut and new fees. Business studies program co-ordinator Doreen Risbey said another 150 trainees in local businesses were enrolled in the courses.
“Since most of the participants in these courses are women on limited incomes, the increased tuition costs will affect them the most,” she said. “Given the financial backgrounds of most of the participants, the courses may be cut completely due to insufficient enrolments.”
She said students with concession cards now paid a $250 flat fee for courses.
“The skills provided are used in all forms of business large and small, private and public, profit and not-for-profit,” she said.
Kellie Smith raised a family for 15 years before deciding to return to study and upgrade her working skills. “My computer skills were very limited,” she said. “Now through this TAFE course which I started in December I’ve gained new confidence to seek employment. Where else in Warrn-ambool could I learn all this”?
Unemployed Allansford student Matthew Barber is pinning his hopes on completing his certificate-three business administration course in six months to gain a job. “It’s just ridiculous that this course may be cut next year,” he said.
Yan Cilia chose the course in an effort to find work in the accounting industry after health reasons forced a career change.
“I can’t understand why the government would want to cut out these courses,” she said.