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TAFE overhaul to address skills shortage

The New South Wales government is introducing changes to vocational education and training to allow for more competition.

From 2014, students will be able to choose government-subsidised training for courses through a TAFE college or a private organisation.

But state funding for TAFE Institutes will no longer be guaranteed under the reforms, to be announced today.

Under the changes, only courses that meet specified skills shortages will receive tax payer funded subsidies and annual fees will be scrapped in favour of students paying per qualification.

State education minister Adrian Piccoli says the changes are aimed at reducing skills shortages.

“These changes are going to give students the opportunity to choose the training provider that they want to use, across the area of skills shortage,” he said.

“And those training providers will have to compete on the service that they deliver to the students.”

Mr Piccoli had previously resisted the reforms, criticising failings in Victoria and South Australia.

But he says this system is different.

“The fees for those courses will be set so whether a student chooses to use TAFE or a non-government, provider the fee will be the same,” he said.

“This will stop the rorting that we’ve seen in Victoria where private providers have simply charged massively reduced fees, crammed students into rooms have been paid the subsidy and students haven’t received the service.”

But Greens MP John Kaye says the changes mean struggling TAFE institutes won’t be able to compete.

“This has been designed by the architect by the Victorian reforms that led TAFE in that state to the brink of collapse,” he said.

“Inevitably this kind of competition is biased against TAFE.

“It will undermine the capacity of TAFE to provide the quality of education outcomes that this state depends on.”

Reinvent Your Career would like to thank ABC News where this article first appeared.

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