TAFE counsellors at Parliament House with MPs Clayton Barr (front, centre) and Peter Primrose (front, right).

Counselling concerns
taken to parliament

MPs told of Smart and Skilled blow to services.

Robert Long
TAFE Organiser

TAFE counsellor members have met with NSW politicians to express their concerns about the impact of the Government’s Smart and Skilled policy on student support services.

Federation invited all MPs to a Parliamentary briefing in Parliament House on the vital importance of TAFE counselling and careers advice. Counsellors also held meetings with the NSW Greens and the ALP. Members met with ALP leader John Robertson but members were disappointed they did not get to meet with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.

TAFE counselling and careers advice is an essential educational support service providing:

  • a professional, educationally and vocationally integrated service
  • TAFE students with support to assist completion of their qualification
  • financial and psychosocial support. In 2015 the NSW Government plans to implement its Smart and Skilled policy which will privatise TAFE funding.

Federation is deeply concerned that some TAFE Institutes are planning to delete or reduce TAFE counselling services result in fragmented services and poorer outcomes for students, teachers and TAFE communities, in response to the threat of Smart and Skilled funding cuts. Senior counselling positions have been deleted in the New England, Hunter and Illawarra Institutes.

Some TAFE managers have told counsellors to work only as careers advisers with potential TAFE students. Counsellors would have no role in the ongoing support of students as they experience problems that can impede their learning, or cause them to withdraw from courses. This would prove detrimental to students, as well as teachers whose workloads would be significantly increased.

Federation has requested that all NSW Members of Parliament communicate with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to ensure the recurrent funding of TAFE counselling in all TAFE Institutes. This vital service must be funded if it is to continue to be provided onsite, with suitably qualified TAFE staff providing a comprehensive service relevant to the TAFE setting. Join the campaign at www.stoptafecuts.com.au.