TAFE helped my brother whose energy at high school went into sports but his academic results were woeful. He completed an electrical fitter’s certificate course and worked in the trade for many years. Finally he began a business of his own and made double the money my sister and I both made during our working lives as primary school teachers.
TAFE has always been an essential tool for tradespeople. It is criminal to make it expensive. We must make it accessible to all our young people. The opportunities it creates outweigh any cost to the government.
The taxes and GST these people pay during their working lives far outweigh the cost of educating them.
Ideally, TAFE should be free and compulsory for all school leavers. We need a skilled workforce and TAFE admirably fulfils this need.
My daughter completed the HSC with an average result. She decided that university would be too hard so went off to TAFE to do graphic design. She thoroughly enjoyed the comprehensive course which developed all the skills she would need as a graphic designer. She especially appreciated all the practical workshops where she learned how to use the many complex computer programs used in the design industry.
When she completed her certificate course with excellent results she had the confidence she needed to tackle university (which her parents felt would make getting a job easier and get her more pay).
We were all very surprised when the university course turned out to be far more theoretical and the computer programs were never “taught”. She helped many of the kids who had not been to TAFE to understand the programs so they could complete assignments.
I feel that Michelle was able to walk into a job in graphic design straight out of university because she had the best of both worlds: the practical side of TAFE and the refined theory of university.
When she had been at Foxtel magazine for three years she was headhunted by New Idea and given a promotion and better pay. I believe that without her TAFE certificate she would not be in such a strong position in the workforce.