TAFE & Adult Provision Celebrating National TAFE Day

National TAFE Day celebrates the amazing work TAFE does for students, the community and the economy.

It was celebrated on 6 September with a delegation of TAFE teachers from around Australia attending Parliament House to meet with Labor and Greens politicians, followed by an evening event with federal skills minister Brendan O’Connor and ACTU president Michele O’Neil.

We heard about the central role of TAFE in our education system, and the way teachers contribute to changing lives. We also talked about the pressure to deliver fee-free courses without proper investment. We spoke about the lack of consultation on the selection of free TAFE courses, what is still needed to address the skills shortage, the free places announced by the Albanese government, and the $1.1 billion promised to TAFE.

While it was a day of celebration, National TAFE Day also gave us pause to consider where our work ahead lies.

A significant issue for discussion was completion-based funding, both in the AMEP area and in TAFEs in some states, resulting in increased class sizes to cover the cost of attrition.

We focused on the impact of shaved course hours, with students paying for tuition they don’t receive and expected to complete their course without the requisite face-to-face teaching hours; and teachers, committed to seeing their students succeed, providing additional teaching in their own, unpaid time. This is a health and wellbeing issue – and, arguably, a form of wage theft.

While it was a day of celebration, National TAFE Day also gave us pause to consider where our work ahead lies.

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