“Where there is a TAFE now, there will be TAFE in the future – TAFE NSW is not leaving town,” said Minister for Skills John Barilaro of the state government’s restructure of TAFE NSW.
The restructure of TAFE NSW will come with a review of assets but Mr Barilaro denied entire campuses would be cut despite falling enrolment and student numbers.
Data provided by the National Centre of Vocational Education Research showed a decrease in both enrolments and student numbers for Young and the region from 2014 to 2015.
The data reveals a 20 per cent decrease from 1915 students in 2014 to 1540 students in 2015.
Surrounding areas also suffered a decrease in student numbers and enrolments; with Grenfell seeing an 11 per cent decrease in student numbers from 405 students in 2014 to 365 students in 2015 and a 10 per cent decrease in enrolments from 485 enrolments in 2014 to 440 enrolments in 2015.
Forbes has seen a 43 per cent decrease from 1075 students in 2014 to 750 students in 2015 and a 62 per cent decrease in enrolments from 1310 enrolments in 2014 to 810 enrolments in 2015.
Cowra saw a 28 per cent decrease from 1685 students in 2014 to 1315 students in 2015
Mr Barilaro said the restructure would increase the reach of TAFE throughout the state and lead to more enrolments.
“TAFE NSW has been the heart of our regional communities for 125 years,” Mr Barilaro said.
“By making more effective use of TAFE’s asset base, and investing in new facilities in regional areas, and embracing technology, we will increase the reach of TAFE NSW throughout the State
“What the restructure means is that the time has come for TAFE NSW to take charge of its own future.
“If TAFE wants to attract the modern student, TAFE needs modern facilities.
“It is imperative we are offering courses that students demand, which will lead to more enrolments and more teaching staff in the future.
“The new structure will see the creation of a new, single TAFE NSW and end the divisions between separate, competing institutes.
“The reforms will reduce overheads and invest more in frontline teaching services.
“Savings achieved through this reform will be reinvested in the NSW Skills budget to train more people in the skills they need,” he said.
The NSW Teachers Federation are concerned the restructure may see a loss of teaching jobs in the Riverina.
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