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Well you could only say it has been another interesting week

Monday, December 11 2017

I will start with the events in South Australia.

I for one have made no comment on the regulatory challenges in TAFE SA.

Not my place to.

But I was a little surprised (astonished) to see one media statement that blamed their challenges on the private sector.

I do hope in the interests of students TAFE can address the issues.

What it does show me though is the very real failure created when ideology drives policy.  It was only a few years ago South Australia decided to walk away from student choice and the training market in SA.

The decision brought student choice to a halt and resulted in a significant contraction of the private sector – yes job losses.

To emphasise the problem let’s look at a few facts in SA:

  • TAFE receives around 90% of delivery funding and delivers to 68% of students
  • Private providers receive 10% of funding and deliver to 32% of students
  • Government-funded student numbers declined from 123,300 in 2012 to 70,900 in 2016 down 42%
  • Student numbers declined 17.9% alone over the 12 months 2015-16 (from 86,300)
  • For apprenticeships and traineeships, they are down 8.0% over the year and 52.9% since 2013
  • Trades are down 33.4% since 2013

The figures are stunning and in a State that needs skills to drive employment, there are major problems created by the decision.

The challenge now is that by walking away from the training market to quickly, there are limited options for students now.

Students had no choice in who to train with and now that there are troubles limited options open.

We of course will work with TAFE and Government to help students continue their training.

Nationally of course the latest apprenticeship and traineeship numbers are a reason to be alarmed. Industry last week lamented the latest figures released yesterday by the NCVER which show the number of apprentices at June 30 this year was 268,000, a 4.7 per cent decline in 12 months. This had dropped from 413,145 in September 2013. The number of trade apprentices has dropped by close to 20% since 2013.
Apprenticeships, while only a small component of the training system are seen as a barometer of both the system and the economy, as when the economy is good, so too are apprenticeship commencements.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the need for real policy leadership and reform. This need is becoming urgent.

A wholehearted national review of what is needed for the future is now becoming urgent.

I still wonder where the drive can come from.

Rod Camm
Chief Executive Officer


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