TAFE NSW has a long and proud history of preparing the people of NSW for work. For over 140 years, it has adapted to the changing needs of industry, the economy and the community. It currently takes over 500,000 enrolments for courses run at over 50 campuses throughout NSW and on-line. TAFE is one of the most important institutions for ensuring the quality of skills and knowledge in the NSW economy.
Since 2012, funding for TAFE has been slashed, forced to compete for funding against inferior private providers, many of which have sprung up almost overnight. This has resulted in significant fee increases and a dramatic drop in student numbers. Some of the people who would have gone to TAFE have ended up with these private training providers, but many haven’t enrolled at all. They have been put off by the huge fees and, especially in regional NSW, there just aren’t that many alternatives to TAFE.
Through TAFE, the NSW Government is able to ensure that the workforce has the skills and knowledge to meet the future needs of industry and the state economy. This is a role of government, not the private sector. It makes no sense for the Government to hollow-out an institution as critical as TAFE, especially in regional areas. It’s bleak for those people who look to TAFE as a way of improving their lives – either to get into the workforce for the first time, or looking for a second chance.