Cuts to TAFE funding will see jobs lost and courses slashed at GippsTAFE Warragul, and could pull over $1 million from the local economy.
GippsTAFE CEO Dr Peter Whitley told The Warragul Citizen the institute expects to lose between 35 and 70 staff because of the cuts, including between 10 and 15 at its Warragul campus.
“I have already had a number of meetings with staff who are going to be affected, [and] I will probably commence those redundancies in the next two or three weeks,” Dr Whitley said.
“Without being too specific about it, I imagine there will be between 10 and 15 staff that ultimately will be lost from Warragul.”
Baw Baw Shire Council modelling indicates a loss of 10 jobs in the local education sector could also see three supporting jobs go and cost the local economy $903,000.
If GippsTAFE is forced to cut 15 jobs, the council says five supporting jobs will be lost at a cost to the local economy of $1.354 million.
Dr Whitley said reduced course subsidies will see some courses cut.
“In Warragul, courses such as the community pharmacy will be cut, the businesses administration will be cut… we are talking that the diploma in business will be cut, [along with] the diploma in human management [and] the diploma in event management,” Dr Whitley said.
“In some instances the fees will have risen by between three and four fold, and therefore the cost of doing the course will be out of reach of some of the people in our community.”
“Some of these courses are linked to diploma-type courses, and that obviously means that some of those diplomas will not run and therefore the pathway to University study is also going to be jeopardised.”
The cuts were revealed in the state budget, which was handed down in May and comes into effect next month.
Liberal MP for Narracan Gary Blackwood said the cuts “have become necessary” due to rising costs and funding will be directed to training in skill shortage areas.
“The reduction in subsidies will mean that $1.2 billion will be available this year which is still an increase of $300,000 on what was budgeted last year,” Mr Blackwood said.
“The government has put an extra $1 billion over the next four years into vocational education and training which will target areas of skill shortage.”
Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall announced on Tuesday the establishment of the Gippsland Tertiary Education Council, which will advise the minister on how to better co-ordinate tertiary education in Gippsland.
“The ultimate goal of [the council] is to ensure that Gippsland’s residents have access to high quality, in-demand training that will help them gain a qualification and find work locally,” Mr Hall said.
Dr Whitley said the council could help GippsTAFE.
“We would certainly be hoping that some of that advice to the minister will enable him to be better informed about the situation as it currently stands,” Dr Whitley said.
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