TAFE student Eleanor Crawshaw might have to leave Ballarat to pursue further studies if the proposed cuts to courses at University of Ballarat go ahead.
The 24-year-old, who is doing Certificate IV in fitness and massage therapy practice, was one of the 60 people who gathered at university’s SMB campus to oppose the proposed cuts to 15 courses.
“I was considering doing a course in physiotherapy or the Diploma of Fitness/Diploma of Remedial Massage,” Ms Crawshaw said.
“Now, I think I will have to move out of Ballarat (to study further).”
But the Ballarat resident, who had about 20 students in her class, said she did not want to leave because of her long-term, part-time job, as well as her work in the community.
“We ran a lot of programs for the community, including for McCallum Disability Services and Dana Street Primary School,” Ms Crawshaw said.
“We also ran groups for the elderly people. It was a great opportunity for students, while providing a service for the community.
“These programs won’t run next year and so the students and community will both miss out.”
Marianne Crawford, a teacher in fitness and massage, said she had been working for the university for 26 years but, at 61, she had no hope of finding another job.
Opposition skills spokesman Steve Herbert, who spoke at the protest, said it was time Skills Minister Peter Hall intervened in the situation.
“Mr Hall recently intervened in his own electorate to stop Monash University from closing down printing at Churchill,” Mr Herbert said.
“If it’s good enough for Mr Hall to get involved with Monash to prevent staff from losing their jobs, it should be good enough to step in at Ballarat University.”
Mr Herbert said Ballarat University’s decision to cut more TAFE courses showed the difficult position the Napthine Government’s ‘restructure’ had forced it into.
“Already, Ballarat has announced it has cut some courses and increased fees to help meet the challenges created by Napthine government policy,” he said.
“But these measures have seen fewer students enrol in some subjects.”
The Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Peter Hall, was unavailable for comment.