THE dramatic cuts to University of Ballarat TAFE courses have been met with concern from key industry bodies.
The Australian Industry Group said it was disappointed by the news, while the Victorian TAFE Association, which could not comment specifically on Ballarat, said the TAFE cuts were “unconscionable”.
Ballarat-based AIG regional manager Kay Macauley said the TAFE cuts could lead to a long-term skills shortage.
“It could have a potential impact, people move to Ballarat for a variety of reasons and a lot of people are looking at the opportunities open to them, and obviously we’ve got to have the jobs for them,” she said.
“And if we’re not offering apprenticeships in certain trades then they’re not going to come here.”
Ms Macauley said she would keenly await news of which courses will be cut.
“From a local point of view, we would be disappointed if trades were going to be cut from the University of Ballarat’s TAFE program, especially in areas where it’s going to impact on our members in the region,” she said.
“Obviously the university attracts apprentices from a wide catchment area around Ballarat and the Wimmera and if particular courses are cut and apprentices have to go to TAFE courses in Melbourne, it adds to the cost of training and the cost to their employer releasing them to go off and study.”
Victorian TAFE Association executive officer David Williams said that not only would the cuts affect TAFE students, but they could also lead to hundreds of job losses.
“Early indications of the impact of the budget cuts to TAFE are job losses, which will clearly exceed 500 effective full-time roles, as many as 1200 to 1500 teaching and support staff over the coming year,” Mr Williams said.
“These losses are in excess of those threatened in the Victorian automotive and manufacturing industry, which the government has rightly sought to protect. It should apply no less principle to TAFE.
“This cut is unconscionable. This funding has assisted thousands of students with special needs. Many TAFE institutes will now be unable to provide the services as the funding has been taken away.”