Jobs vanish with TAFE dollars

INTENDED youth, retail and health workers are among students attending 52 courses that have been identified by Kangan Institute as ‘unviable’ because of the state government’s $300 million funding cuts.

Thirty-three of the courses that will cease next year are offered at the Broadmeadows campus.

Courses to be cut include certificates 2 and 3 in retail, the diploma of leisure and health, and eight hospitality courses.

Kangan chief executive Ray Griffiths said the board, management and staff were shocked by the severity of the budget impact.

“The recent state budget announcements have hit Kangan Institute hard, and it has identified 52 courses that are no longer viable in the current policy environment,” he said.

“No mid-year enrolments will be taken in these courses. Our commitment to all existing enrolled students will be met and more than 80 per cent of our courses will continue, albeit under different conditions, into the future.”

Some teachers have already been made redundant in Broadmeadows, while others wait in limbo.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has said about 150 Kangan jobs could go. Brian Hughes, president of the Kangan sub-branch of NTEU, said TAFE campuses had been “sad places” since the funding overhaul was announced.

“Everyone is walking around wondering whether they’ve still got a job or will have a job down the track,” he said.

“That’s the doom and gloom side of things. Pressure has to be kept on the state government to rescind some of these [cuts].”

Mr Hughes said that as well as course closures and job losses, the resulting fee hikes for courses that would remain with diminished funding would hurt low-income students.

“Broadmeadows, for example, is not the richest area so [fee hikes] will impact heavily, I would say.

“And the nursing [course] in Moonee Ponds is in high demand, so putting the costs up will hit right across the board. TAFEs have to do anything they can to keep their heads above water.”