Weatherill Government must swallow its pride on TAFE SA

The State Liberals are demanding the Weatherill Government incorporates private sector training providers in the solution to the TAFE scandal and rules out delaying a return to contestability for the provision of training courses.

“It is critical that the students impacted by the TAFE accreditation scandal are provided with any additional support they require to attain their qualifications as quickly as possible,” said Shadow Minister for Education John Gardner.

“Properly accredited private sector training providers – particularly those not-for-profit providers who are responsible directly to the industries they support – may offer the best option for many of these TAFE students who are being denied the qualifications they studied for.

“The Weatherill Government must also look urgently to these training providers to help offer more places next year – particularly in the suspended TAFE courses.”

The Weatherill Government’s decision to defund non-government training providers to support a TAFE monopoly severely damaged vocational training in South Australia and contributed to the scandal engulfing TAFE SA.

The State Government’s current policy is that the training market will become fully contestable once more on 1 July 2019.

“Having kicked private training providers in the teeth by virtually defunding them the Weatherill Government must now go cap in hand and seek their assistance to ensure TAFE students can obtain the qualification they have studied for and training courses can be offered next year.

“The Weatherill Government was warned about the damage that would be inflicted on vocational training as a result of its damaging policies.

“In defending her government’s destruction of the non-TAFE providers on radio this morning, Minister Close argued that it was no longer ninety per cent of public funds going to TAFE – it was now only a little over eighty per cent. As if that meant that everything was better.

“One thing Minister Close must do today is reassure the non-government and not-for-profit training providers that the 2019 date for a return of contestable funding will not be allowed to push out any later. We must do what we can to rebuild confidence in the sector as a matter of urgency.

“Our priorities for training must be focused on the needs of our students who want a good career, the needs of South Australian industry and businesses that need a skilled workforce. Both of those groups demand and deserve quality in training in SA.”