TAFE cuts threaten VET studies

Premier Ted Baillieu’s TAFE cuts have jeopardised Colac and district VET studies.

COLAC and district students could lose training courses because of State Government budget cuts.

The Gordon TAFE told the Baillieu Government it was “strongly considering” cutting Vocational Education Training in Schools after the government cut $300-million from TAFE in its May budget.

The revelation came in a leaked confidential Cabinet document.

“Gordon has indicated that without additional funding, it would have to strongly consider withdrawing from VETiS from 2014 or 2015,” the document read.

The report stated that the Gordon would lose $510,000 on its VET program next year, and a total loss of $1.5-million between 2013 and 2015.

Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman said the cuts would affect VET programs at Colac Secondary, Trinity, Apollo Bay P-12 and Lavers Hill K-12 colleges.

“These cuts will jeopardise the training of thousands of local young people,” he said.

“The Gordon has delivered the VET in Schools program for almost 20 years, with more than 1000 students undertaking programs in 28 secondary schools in our region this year.”

The Gordon chief executive officer Grant Sutherland said he was disappointed about the leaked confidential plan because people had taken “some points” out of context.

“The Gordon has made a commitment to VET in Schools in 2013, with a business case to the State Government for funding support to enable these programs to continue after this,” Mr Sutherland said

“Before any action is taken, The Gordon plans to undertake industry and community consultation,” he said.

“It is intended that this consultation with the Colac community will take place within the next month.”

Victorian premier Ted Baillieu said he was also disappointed someone leaked the confidential document, and he said the TAFE cuts were a necessary budget measure.

“We’re dead keen to see that vocational training in Victoria is put on a sustainable basis,” he said.

Australian Education Union Victoria president Mary Bluett said the cuts had “especially hurt regional and rural Victoria.

“The Baillieu Government’s budget cuts are not in the interests of young people, the community, TAFE institutes or the Victorian economy,” she said.

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