I wish TAFE people would just stop whining (Rant Warning)

I really am starting to get sick of TAFE staff right from the top to the coal face complaining about how hard their world is!

Right now that I have offended half my audience.  It seems like every week now there is a new article in a newspaper or somewhere else about how tough TAFE are doing things and how complicated the market is for them now that they have to compete with private sector training providers.

I for one am sick of it.

I tell you what, all of you who are complaining about your life in the TAFE system and how hard it is now that you have to compete with private providers, come and work with a private provider.  Come and work somewhere where your existence depends solely on being able to find enough students to pay the bills, without the support of government for infrastructure and the like.  And I don’t care whether you are a big commercial provider or a niche market one, it is all the same, there is no support out there, if we fail we fail end of story.  There is no government that is going to bail us out, or restructure us to assist us with continuing to operate, that is just not going to happen.  

If individual TAFE’s can’t sustain themselves (except in environments where there a very solid social participation reasons) then why are they being supported by the government, for the most part, private providers would be more than willing and able to step into the spaces left.

TAFE, do not do a better job than private providers just because they are a TAFE, they are not only providers of VET training in this country and it is about time they just stopped whining, accept the fact that they have to compete and get on with it.  Just like in my opinion TAFE in Queensland is doing, and interestingly I rarely here the comments we here from the southern states about having to compete with private providers from the QLD TAFE sector.

Also if you are a TAFE teacher/trainer, stop complaining about how hard you work.  Trainers and Facilitators in the private sector work much harder.

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

12 Responses to I wish TAFE people would just stop whining (Rant Warning)

  1. basdenleco says:

    Having come from the private sector (20 years plus) and now in the environs of TAFE for several years, then my initial reaction is that one has lost considerable respect for you,after your attack on the system I am employed in.
    The same rant can be leveled at private providers i.e. tit for tat.

    But that is the crux of the matter let there be a level playing field in the system where the same rules apply as you know only to well that is not the case at the moment and ahs never been since the introduction of “User Choice”.

    • pauldrasmussen says:

      Sorry you feel that way. However I am not attacking TAFE as such, TAFE does good work, it does work in areas where it is not commercially viable for a private provider to go, and it does have an important social function as well. To be fair however I haven’t seen a lot of articles from private RTO’s complaining about TAFE making life more difficult for them, and I don’t see a lot of trainers in the private sector complaining about how difficult their lot is.

      I do agree however there needs to be a even playing field, and this is something that should cut both ways.

    • Brett Hilder says:

      Until you have worked as, or for, a private provider, you have no idea how much harder it is to survive.

      Some of the ex-employers from my illegally destroyed RTO went to work for TAFEs. Their stories are not good for TAFE but they have job security and far greater resources at their disposal.

  2. Ankit says:

    Having worked with private providers as well as TAFE. I couldn’t agree more with you.

  3. Brett Hilder says:

    Completely agree, Paul. I’m not particularly against TAFE but they should spend more of their time on quality training delivery like every self-respecting private provider.

  4. LearnKotch says:

    WOW – there goes your invite to the next TAFE love in! But as I say if you believe in your convictions you should come out and say it – what I am sick of is how learning professionals (TAFE or Private) are so nice to each other – we don’t challenge each other and we all pussy foot around what X said and what Y said without really saying anything – that’s why i like your approach Paul (similar to mine) if I don’t believe in it or agree with it I will say it – now who wants to talk MOOCs 😉

    • pauldrasmussen says:

      Con, I couldn’t agree more, and to be honest some of the best discussions I have had have come from me disagreeing with someone (in most cases someone ‘important’ or ‘influential’) and then a lengthy and sometimes heated discussion ensuing. But in the long run they have almost all, with the exception of one that stick in my head, where the other person was intractable because of the investment they had in their position. Disagreement and discussion is the life blood of innovation. If we all agree and keep doing the same thing we dont move forward.

  5. Kath Crossley says:

    Hi Paul,

    If so pleased to see/read/imagine that I’m hearing your voice when I read your posts that you still a man who calls a spade a spade!

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article. Just imagine the quintessential TAFE facilitator (or should I say trainer?) working in a SME where you have to:
    1. Sell the training
    2. Design the training
    3. Create the materials – yes! all of them, on your own without an administration assistant!
    4. Deliver the training
    5. Assess the training
    6. Report to ASQA, VET, Skills for All and any and allotter interested parties, including reading the 20+ emails that you get each week from these bodies (often contradicting each others point of view of the latest and greatest piece of legislation that is designed to favour TAFE and make more work for you).
    7. Evaluate the training
    8. Create the certificates
    9. Keep the process revolving or you will go broke and NO the government isn’t going to assist you.

    But the absolute kicker for me is somehow WE have a 97.8% completion rate and our clients actually DEMAND that they get some kind of ROI (Imaging TAFE being held accountable for their completion rates?) because organisations don’t want to pay for NO OUTCOME!

    When it’s your own money, your own professional reputation on the line, when YOU staying in business keeps your employees family’s fed and housed THEN you can BEGIN to tell us about your hard life!

    Thus endeth my rant!

    PS Keep these articles coming. I enjoy our often violent agreement!

    • pauldrasmussen says:

      Thanks Kath, I am glad you enjoyed my ranting. 🙂

      It is interesting a little while ago I was asked in response to some questions about many days a week a trainer/facilitator should work in front of a class delivering training, and it was framed by the QLD training taskforce discussion that TAFE facilitators award limited face to face training to about 21 hours a week. My answer was a simple and that was well as many hours as is needed, if they need to deliver 5 face to face classes in a week then that is how many they should deliver.

      Many (well not that many really) years ago I trained around 3000 per year for just over two years. I was training between 4 and 5 days a week for most of the year and travelling around the country as well. Yes I had an admin assistance and yes there was assistance with marking and stuff where necessary, but a lot was still done at night sitting in hotel rooms and yes I did get paid a very large bucket load of money. And that tends to be the way it is in the private sector, there is no 21 hours of scheduled face to face training, there is simply, this needs to be done so lets get it done.

    • Leonie McKenzie says:

      Hi Kath,
      After reading your post I would say that you have never worked in the TAFE system because if you had you would not have said the majority of what you wrote. I have worked in both private and TAFE and in both organisations I worked equally as hard

  6. Pingback: TAFE and the contestable marketplace – Some thoughts | Organisational Learning and Development

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