A NEW boss will take the reins of South West TAFE next year as it continues to adjust to savage budget cuts.
Advance TAFE chief executive Peter Heilbuth will take over the institute in January, replacing CEO Joe Piper.
The Gippsland-based chief has spent nearly 20 years with Advance TAFE, which has faced similar struggles after the state government announced $290 million cuts to the TAFE system.
Mr Heilbuth said yesterday he understood there was strong support for South West TAFE.
“I’m very excited to be working in Warrnambool and I think the role of TAFE in regional communities is often underestimated,” he said.
“But I think the local community is very supportive of TAFE.”
Mr Heilbuth said TAFE institutes now had to refocus.
“Each TAFE across Victoria has been required to put up a business plan … South West TAFE has said it will adjust to the climate,” he said.
“My understanding from a distance is that South West TAFE has done that very well. They have positioned themselves fairly well for the coming year.” Earlier this year South West TAFE announced it would slash more than 40 positions in response to the budget cutbacks.
But Mr Heilbuth said he was optimistic for the planned construction of a new trades school at the former Mitre 10 site.
Outgoing CEO Joe Piper said he had enjoyed his time in the south-west.
“I am confident that I can leave the institute in a good position,” Mr Piper said.
He described Mr Heilbuth’s appointment as an opportunity for “new eyes and new thinking”.
Mr Piper will step down on November 9, with TAFE executive manager of business and student services Maurice Molan to act as interim CEO until January.