Vale TAFE advocate Alan Jones

Max Taylor

There were major breakthroughs while Alan led TAFE

Federation Life Member and former TAFETA Secretary and President Alan Jones died on January 17, aged 83.

Alan’s parents were committed social activists and supporters of trade unions. Alan was dux of his primary school but like most of his generation had to make a contribution to family income. He left school at 14 years and nine months.

Work in the building industry as an apprentice carpenter led to membership of the Building Workers Industrial Union. He participated in the successful 40-hour week campaign.

At age 19 Alan was elected by members to attend the United Nations approved Berlin Youth Festival for Peace. Alan never forgot the sight of the aftermath of war: the missing people, the destroyed buildings and the lost skills. He was a lifelong strong advocate for peace and the value of education.

Alan also worked in the Public Works Department. He obtained higher trade qualifications and the Building Foreman and Clerk of Works qualifications. He became an Inspector.

Alan entered TAFE in the early 1960s as a carpentry teacher. High-level competence assisted him in convincing others about the importance of trade unionism.

As Secretary of TAFETA between 1970 and 1973 Alan took on a significant workload. There were no full-time TAFE Officers at that time.

A number of major breakthroughs for TAFE teachers occurred while Alan was a leader of the Association. Awards for overtime, travelling time and salaries occurred between 1969 and 1973. Discriminatory salary entry points and rates which disadvantaged trade teachers and women were significantly modified during the 1970s. Major class size reductions, particularly for dangerous practical classes, were achieved. Face-to-face teaching hours, which varied between 18 and 24 hours, were reduced to a maximum of 20 hours.

Industrial action played a major part in award negotiations and Alan was an excellent speaker at meetings of members.

In 1974 the TAFE in Australia: Report on Needs in Technical and Further Education (Kangan Report) was produced by the Whitlam government. Alan was one of a number of TAFE unionists across Australia who had pushed for such an inquiry. The result was a massive increase in the federal funding of TAFE.

Alan was the inaugural Federation TAFE representative on the NSW Education Commission set up in 1980. The Commission was intended to bring government, departments, parents, industry and teachers together for the running of education.

Best wishes and sympathy are extended to Betty, his wife, children Greg, Kaye and Gail and their families.

Max Taylor is a Life Member and previous Federation General Secretary and President.