Tradies at mercy of shonky trainers

Premier Mike Baird can ban greyhound racing but not shonky private providers.

Under his Smart and Skilled program that has resulted in a drop of TAFE students by 126,000 since 2012, Mr Baird has negated his responsibilities by allowing shonky providers to dumb down trade courses. An Electrical Trades Union officer told me he had little confidence in the training being provided by these providers.

One of the most critical decisions facing young people seeking job skills is whether to take up a Certificate III trade course, and this is compounded by the fact that they have to choose between one of 400 for-profit private providers or TAFE.

If they choose a for-profit private provider over TAFE they face the serious risk their qualification will be dismissed as inferior to the qualification from TAFE. Even worse, the provider could go bankrupt, resulting in the students frantically looking elsewhere to complete their course.

To relieve this pressure and ensure the high standard of Australian tradespeople is maintained, all Certificate III courses (trade courses) should only be run by TAFE colleges nationwide.

Consequently, the public will have confidence that when a plumber, electrician, builder, motor mechanic, or other tradesperson is engaged the service rendered will be of a high and safe standard.

We can’t allow shonky for-profit providers to train our tradies.

Anthony Morrissey
Petersham TAFE

Barilaro should be corrected

(Edited letter sent to Kate Washington MP, Member for Port Stephens)

I write to you on behalf of my wife and myself. My wife was a TAFE teacher for more than 30 years and I was with TAFE for more than 37 years and, having been head teacher and senior head teacher for the last 25 years, I consider I can comment with knowledge and authority.

Whenever I read articles relating to the demise of TAFE I am appalled by the shortsightedness of this government. The government is certainly making cost savings but is destroying one of the most successful educational facilities in this country.

Many thousands of people, especially our youth, will suffer. Industry will never recover from the adverse effects of this government’s attitude towards education.

No doubt you have heard all of these comments previously. While I, personally, will not be directly affected as I have retired from TAFE, I am nevertheless extremely saddened by the destruction of this great education institution.

Skills Minister John Barilaro recently said the 25-year-old TAFE multi-institute model was designed to create competition between institutes to increase student choice, suggesting that multiple institutes were unnecessary now with the choice afforded by private providers.

The Minister’s research relating to the formation of the institute model is incorrect: institutions were established on the basis of demographics and the needs of each region; his statement about competition was not the reason for separate institution formation.

Sixteen institutes were initially created on the recommendation in the 1990 Scott Report. Within a short time the number was reduced to about 11.

Institutes were formed to break away from the centralised-management system of head office decision-making.

No doubt the destruction of TAFE has gone too far to be reversed but I ask you to at least advise the Minister not to make incorrect accusations to appease the disadvantaged public.

Paul Fawcett