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A Teachers' Federation representative, Emma McBride, David Mehan, Liesl Tesch, David Harris and Prue Car outside Wyong TAFE. A Teachers' Federation representative, Emma McBride, David Mehan, Liesl Tesch, David Harris and Prue Car outside Wyong TAFE. Featured
27 March 2018 Posted by 

OUR TAFE BEING "STRANGLED"

MPs unite to challenge cuts
TERRY COLLINS
CONFUSION reigns over the future of Outreach programs operating out of Wyong TAFE.

Central Coast state and federal MPs have banded together to protest “savage cuts” made to TAFE funding under the state government’s Smart and Skilled vocational educational reforms, which say will spell the demise of the programs.

They blame the cuts on extra funding for “dodgy private providers at the expense of TAFE”.

But the NSW government says the programs will continue under different branding.

Coast state MPs David Harris (Wyong), David Mehan (The Entrance) and Liesl Tesch (Gosford) met outside Wyong TAFE recently with federal MP Emma McBride (Dobell),

Shadow Minister for Skills Prue Car and NSW Teachers Federation members, outraged at the funding cuts which they say will be the death knell for Outreach.

Established in 1976 in response to the Kangan report, Outreach programs aim to engage the most marginalized members in communities in further education.

With a Youth Unemployment rate of 18.5%, almost double the state average, the MPs say the coast just can’t afford to lose them.

Mr Harris said TAFE was being “strangled”.

"TAFE outreach has been the reason a lot of people got their trades; from hairdressers to electricians and plumbers, TAFE outreach was their first contact in the TAFE system,” he said.

Ms Tesch said businesses wanted to hire trained and experienced employees.

“By stripping TAFE of investment, the NSW government is letting down both our businesses and those seeking employment,” she said.

"The coast needs more funding and support for technical and further education, not less."

Mr Mehan said cuts to TAFE were a key factor in the coast’s persistently high youth unemployment rate.

"Without skills and assistance our young people are being left behind,” he said.

Ms McBride said the programs had made a tremendous difference to the lives of many people on the coast, their families and communities.

“They take away the barriers to education and give people the opportunity to succeed,” she said.

Minister Prue Car said the government should be investing in programs that drive enrolments back to TAFE.

Ms McBride said the programs had made a tremendous difference to the lives of many people on the coast, their families and communities.

“They take away the barriers to education and give people the opportunity to succeed,” she said.

But parliamentary secretary for the Central Coast Scot MacDonald said the Outreach programs would be restructured and delivered under a different name with the introduction of a new TAFE NSW model.

“Services formerly associated with Outreach will be transitioned into Career Pathways, Aboriginal Language and Employability Skills, or Pathways for short, as well as other specialist areas,” Mr MacDonald said.

“These changes aim to strengthen TAFE’s commitment to remote and regional NSW and respond to the needs of young people and disadvantaged groups.

“Under the new model, programs will be delivered that are aligned to community and industry needs and lead to jobs or further training.”

Mr MacDonald said the number of leadership positions in Pathways had been increased and that TAFE NSW remained committed to supporting disadvantaged groups in regional areas such as the coast.

Mr Harris said the government’s response would be “laughable if it wasn’t so criminal”.

“When this same change happened in the Illawarra, TAFE Outreach programs ceased to exist,” he said.

“No amount of weasel words can get them out of the fact that the government has deleted TAFE Outreach from Wyong.”
Interestingly, the three Liberal councillors on Central Coast Council joined fellow councillors recently to support a motion from Cr Lisa Matthews calling for funding for the Outreach programs to remain.

 



editor

Michael Walls
Publisher
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.