UP to 15 staff of South West TAFE could be made redundant in the next six months under the latest chapter in reshaping the region’s largest vocational educator.
Cleaning and catering services at the main Warrnambool campus are likely to be outsourced to contractors, while customer support teams will be restructured and teaching departments streamlined across all campuses.
But while some employees stand to lose their jobs, fresh staff skilled in new technology will be employed to help the institute adapt to rapidly-changing electronic media.
Some courses cut last year because of low enrolments could be made available again via video-conferencing with other TAFE institutes and universities.
Staff were briefed this week and offered the chance to apply for a limited number of redundancy packages. It follows a major restructure ordered by the state government last year when 43 job cuts were announced following the slashing of about $10 million in funding for the institute over two years.
Yesterday South West TAFE chief executive Peter Heilbuth told The Standard it was imperative to continue streamlining the institute to remain viable long-term.
“We have briefed staff on plans to further transform our operation to be more customer-focused, in line with government expectations,” he said.
“Our main function is to make students more employable and help industry be more profitable.
“There is nothing wrong with the performance of our staff, it’s just that we must focus on education and become more nimble in operations. Staffing a cafeteria and a cleaning department is not our core business.”
The Standard understands up to 15 staff could lose their jobs, but Mr Heilbuth said specific numbers could not be determined until negotiations and streamlining were completed.
He said even after the trimming, South West TAFE would still employ almost 500 staff at Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton and Glenormiston.
“We provide 75 per cent of all vocational training in the south-west, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels,” Mr Heilbuth said.
“The government now provides the same funding to public and private-registered training organisations — we must operate efficiently, competing against other providers.
“There will be some changes to our delivery modes where we will go out more to customers, instead of expecting them to come to us.
“We are also looking to invest in extra staff in new learning technologies to be more contemporary.”