A new report has revealed how beleaguered Victorian TAFE, Federation Training, saw a massive decline in student hours and enrolments despite receiving $19m in government funding
The 2015 report was released this week following lengthy delays in the Auditor-General’s review into the document’s financials.
It found that student contact hours fell by almost 700,000 hours and 182 equivalent full-time jobs were axed between 2014 and 2015 – issues perpetuated by “poor decision-making and financial mismanagement”.
Jonathon Davis, Federation Training’s managing director, pointed to a number of contributing factors that caused the TAFE to “fail to deliver on its commitment to deliver the best facilities, training and skills allowing local students to thrive and industries to grow”.
Davis said that a new TAFE leadership team supported by the Victorian Government was prepared to make tough decisions to restore accountability and responsibility to the TAFE.
“Federation Training, led by a new executive team and its board, in partnership with the Victorian government, is determined to do all it can to help students get real training for real jobs,” he said.
In 2014, Gippsland’s two TAFE providers, GippsTAFE and AdvanceTAFE, merged in to create Federation Training – a movie that Gayle Tierney, Victoria’s Training and Skills Minister, said created “huge problems”.
“Federation Training has been left with a range of facilities that are not fit for purpose,” she told Parliament on June 8.
“They also have a course list that has had a history of not being aligned to the needs of the local communities.”
Tierney said the TAFE’s new board and CEO have been working through these issues with the local communities to make sure that industry and the local communities are getting the courses that they need delivered in their local TAFE.
“We want a brand new type of TAFE that is agile, is flexible and serves the interests and the needs of local communities,” she said.
“This was something that just did not occur under the previous government. TAFEs were left in tatters, and we are rebuilding them.”
However, Tierney said this would take time because the “massive destruction” that was wreaked over the TAFE system “had no bounds”.
“We are attempting to put oxygen back into the public education system, and so needed particularly in rural and region Victoria,” she said.