Greens call to end TAFE cuts

Daniel Bartolo is no fan of cuts to his education.

The electrical engineering student at Mt Druitt TAFE spoke at a gathering of students and teachers at the campus on Friday, where NSW Greens MP John Kaye announced a bill to reverse funding cuts to the education provider.

The Greens’ TAFE Changes Moratorium Bill will be introduced in state parliament next week.

Mr Bartolo is about 12 months from completing his apprenticeship and said night classes had already been axed at his campus. He is bracing for a greater workload and extra expense if more changes occur.

‘‘If these TAFE cuts come through I would have to learn the same amount of content in half the amount of time,’’ he said.

‘‘Our employer by law pays the fees but we outlay the money for up to a year and only get the money back if we get a pass rate above 75 per cent.

‘‘Last year I paid $700 in fees and extra fees to use profiling systems.

‘‘I spent over $200 in one subject on textbooks and as an apprentice you don’t make much more than that in a week.’’

Dr Kaye said TAFE would be stripped of the lion’s share of its core funding from January next year under the government’s Smart and Skilled program.

Instead students will receive a voucher to cash in with the provider of their choice.

“The un-winnable competition for students and money will see even more cuts at Mt Druitt TAFE,’’ he said.

“The plumbing section has already been badly cut. Face-to-face teaching hours have been wound back, courses abandoned.

‘‘Apprentices are being forced to attend classes at campuses on the other side of Sydney to complete their trade certificates.’’

A report commissioned by the Public Service Association found Vocational Education and Training boosts a young person’s lifetime earnings by more than $300,000.

‘‘The trades they teach at TAFE and service centres is essentially what keeps this country running,’’ Mr Bartolo said.

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