USER demand will determine which courses at South West TAFE survive the impact of massive funding cuts announced in this week’s state budget.
Chief executive Joe Piper told The Standard yesterday the institute had to adapt to a new strategy from Spring Street which was more focused on skill outcomes than “just pieces of paper”.
Mr Piper called on people interested in enrolling in a course to do so within the next few months instead of holding off and causing specific training streams to dry up.
He said South West TAFE was happy to work under the state government’s employment-focused approach to TAFEs after his counterparts across the state criticised the government for pulling cash out of the system.
“First of all, most Victorians acknowledge that the state is in a tight fiscal position,” Mr Piper said yesterday.
“There has been a shift in government approach towards vocational education and that has involved increased support for ‘high skills’ and traditional training and a shift away from other areas regarded as having lesser value.
“For example, construction, plumbing et cetera has been given a boost while some subsidisation has come off areas such as fitness and lower-lever business programs, which may be deemed as ‘hobby areas.’”
Vocational institute chiefs and state government officials will meet in Melbourne today to discuss the change in approach. Mr Piper said he will attend.
Roughly 450 people are employed by South West TAFE at its five campuses in Warrnambool, Sherwood Park (Deakin University), Portland, Hamilton and Glenormiston.
A spokesman for Skills Training Minister Peter Hall said the state government had announced an extra $1 billion over the next four years for the vocational education system.
“Much of this money will go to better support courses that provide higher-level training such as apprenticeships and traineeships,” he said.
“(The funding will) particularly be directed in areas of skills shortages or areas that make an important contribution to Victorians’ chances of gaining meaningful employment.
“The government is increasing subsidies in these important areas, while reducing subsidies in areas of over-supply or that don’t necessarily lead to positive employment outcomes.