Policies, Politics and what the hell are they doing to VET in this country
September 2, 2013 1 Comment
So another week in Australian politics and another announcement how one of the parties is going to solve the skills and training crisis.
This week it was the turn of the Labor Party. (Again please note this is not a political discussion but rather a look at what is on offer and what it means) Firstly I want to comment on ‘A Secure Future for TAFE, released by the Prime Minister on Sunday.
When I first read this, what came to mind was a single simple thought, again we see a party who believes that the problem with TAFE is funding and that all you need to do is throw money at it and that will solve all of the issues, both with TAFE and with VET. It reminds me to some extent of the Green’s Policy I commented on last week. Just giving money to TAFE or suggesting that certain types of funding can only be accessed by TAFE does nothing to change the issues with currently exist within the TAFE systems. As I have said before I support the TAFE system, however people and organisations should have a choice about where and how they spend their money or entitlements on training, restricting this choice can only be bad for outcomes.
Again, (please note I am about to get on my soapbox) this policy only thinks about TAFE and private providers, it take no consideration of the place of Enterprise RTO’s and the substantial contribution that they make to VET in this country. It would be nice, just once, once, to see a political party in this country acknowledge the existence of ERTO’s.
I am also very worried about the ‘if the States don’t do what we want we will take over’ mentality, or more precisely the federal government would quarantine funds, so that those funds could only be access by TAFE. It shows a lack of understanding of what individuals, industry and employers want from a VET system. They want choice and flexibility, they want to be able to choose how they or their staff are trained. Some TAFE’s or at least campuses should be closed, if a campus is not being utilised well, and there is not some other compelling reason to keep it open (it is the only VET provider in a regional or remote area for instance) then close it. Why support infrastructure where it is essentially duplicated by another campus just down the road.
So what about the other release Labor’s Jobs, Training and Apprenticeship Guarantee.
Again it seems to me that this is a policy written by people who don’t understand VET in Australia. The first thing that hit me about this was the ‘let’s create another bureaucratic level, to further muddy the waters and ensure that so very, very little will actually get done. Do we really need another Board to tell us what we already know? I think the money would be better spent, by reinstating the existing work funding that was cut in August rather than paying an entirely new bureaucratic layer. And while I support the idea of better links between services, job seekers, employers and training I am not sure this is the way to do it.
So there we go again not a lot in either of these releases except for the lets give money to TAFE that will solve all of the issues stance we have seen elsewhere before, no real answer to any of the real issues and certainly no clear path forward.
If you want to read some other commentary on these releases I would recommend you have a read of the very well thought out piece from Claire Field from ACPET