How do you lose $70 million and still have a job? Work for TAFE in Victoria it seems.

I posted the article on Linkedin yesterday about the foreshadowed losses in the Victoria TAFE system and I have to admit I have been thinking about it a little more overnight. I mean where else but in the public sector could you amass such substantial losses and then get an offer from the government to give you more money.

I struggle to see how that can come about. Did they spent money that they didn’t have in the budget for things like a new SMS, did they grossly underestimate the amount of students. Unfortunately all of these things point to really bad management practices. I have managed very large budgets and even losses of $1 million plus are heavily questioned. Surely they know their business well enough that they can plan forward or are they simply working on the assumption that it doesn’t really matter in the long run because the government will just bail them out and pay the shortfall. Not a way to run any kind of business be it public or private in my opinion.

Now that being said we need to have a public VET education system, but we need to have one that doesn’t constantly need to be bailed out by the government, throwing more money at a system that is clearly broken isn’t going to fix it.

TAFE has a place, but it is struggling to find that place. There are arguments that suggest that it provides support and training in places were non-public providers don’t because of economic reasons, but even that is changing there are plenty of providers particularly NFP’s who are willing to and already do the kinds of work and in the kinds of places that traditionally only TAFE did.

If a business (and even though it is a public entity TAFE it is still a business) can’t support itself with the population base it has around it or its infrastructure costs are too high or whatever the reason is, then something needs to be done. Unless there are strong social and economic reasons for keeping it then closing or merging needs to be seriously considered, as does staffing levels and executive salaries and packages.

Why have separate CEO’s and boards and executive teams at each TAFE why not centralise at least a bit, cut down on management overheads and put the money where it needs to go, the teaching of participants.

Anyway thats just my opinion

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul is the winner of the 2013 Leadership in VET Quality Award and the 2013 LearnX Learning Manager of the year award. A Thought Leader and Speaker on Organisational Learning, Professional Development, Motivation, Leadership, Management and Professional Ethics, he speaks widely and has published work on the areas of Learning and Development, Learning ROI, Business, Management, Leadership and Ethics. With Qualifications in Ethics and Bioethics, Organisational Learning and Development, Training, and Business Management and Leadership, Paul has worked in and with a wide range of public, private, government and not for profit organisations. He is currently the National Training Manager for Spectrum Training and the principal consultant with Rasmussen Learning. Specialties: • Organisational Learning and Development • Ethics (Business, Professional and Theoretical) • Learning Management and ROI • Professional Speaking • RTO Management • E-Learning • Management • Leadership • Learning Management Systems

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