Letter of the Day

Don’t squash TAFE

IN the 2000s, the federal and Victorian governments slashed millions of dollars from vocational education, causing savage cuts to several trade courses. Apprentice numbers were forced down due to teacher sackings and inadequate accommodation to meet demand (“All aboard jobs train”, HS, 22/8).

It seems ironic the federal government now has to prioritise “free training to address the nation’s acute skills crisis”, with an election commitment of “$850m for 465,000 fee’free TAFE courses and vocational training infrastructure”.

Employed at the former Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE in communications from 2000-07, I saw the repercussions of drastically reduced funding, with students struggling to get the best training and many teachers alarmed at being unable to adequately address their duties.

I wrote a book called TAFE Triumphs, featuring interviews with teachers and students in many courses while working there, which could be of value to schools for appreciating “vocational training as an important stepping stone on the path to a good career”. Perhaps more of us need to recognise the value of TAFE training rather than thinking a university degree attests to educational triumph.