The last months have been some of the most difficult and challenging we have experienced. We have been asked to self-isolate, maintain social distance, wash our hands and sanitise over and over, work from home and develop remote learning curriculum in a very short time frame.
Through all this, TAFE teachers have risen to the challenge, enabling teaching and learning to continue for students across Victoria.
The role of TAFE has never been more important, as we provide the kind of education and skills that will be vital in meeting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australia’s economy. There will be an urgent need to retrain and redirect displaced workers for new jobs and potentially for revived local sectors such as manufacturing.
The Victorian government has provided $260.8 million to TAFEs, dual sector institutes and AMES to help provide financial security following the drop in enrolments due to the coronavirus. That incorporates $191.9 million that would have been received through the Victorian Training Guarantee and $68.9 million in crisis support to offset lost revenue.
For those members who are working from home, the AEU advocated for TAFE teachers to receive the Working from Home (WFH) allowance provided to school teachers by the state government. This allowance of $100 for the first week and $20 for each week thereafter (backdated to the start of the state lockdown) was approved in mid-May.
We want to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of those teachers who have been attending TAFE campuses to teach and assess where remote delivery is not possible. The union has been extraordinarily proud of members’ willingness to meet their students’ needs in whatever way they can. This has not been easy, given the current restrictions to minimise the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.