President’s comment 22 November 2012 

TAFE matters

The release of the Centre for Policy Development’s report “Valuing skills: why vocational training matters” confirms the unique and valuable role that TAFE institutes play in providing public VET.

The report was funded by the Public Service Association of NSW and so focuses on the New South Wales context, but is relevant to the current discourse on Queensland TAFE and VET, particularly given the recommendations of the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce currently being considered by the Queensland Government.

The main points made in the report are that TAFEs are doing the heavy lifting in terms of:

  • providing education to vulnerable students, including those in rural and remote settings, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and students with disabilities
  • providing training in areas of skills shortages
  • offering courses in many of the more expensive-to-deliver areas such as mining and construction.

The report also sets out the social value of TAFEs, which in comparison to private providers offer a fuller range of services including counselling and Indigenous assistance to their students.

The report concludes with a number of recommendations that provide a worthy contribution to the complex TAFE and VET debate, including urging governments to ensure reforms are evidence-based and the broad value of TAFE as the major public provider of VET is considered in any funding reform.

Kevin Bates