TAFE cuts will lead to ‘soaring’ workloads – union

TAFE cuts will lead to ‘soaring’ workloads – union

A national survey has found that TAFE teachers are working an additional day per week over and above their paid work, resulting in soaring workloads.

Presenting an early analysis of the Australian Education Union’s (AEU) ‘State of Our TAFE 2020 Survey’s findings, AEU president Correna Haythorpe highlighted the additional workload impact on TAFE teachers. 

According to respondents of the survey, TAFE teachers are working on average one additional day per week over and above their paid work and 72% of respondents say that their working hours have increased over the last three years.

The intensity and pace of workloads has also increased over the last three years, according to 93% of the survey’s respondents, and just 2% said their workload is always manageable, due to “excessive administration and management demands”.

Haythorpe said funding for vocational education had been cut by more than 15% in the ten years to 2016, while the Morrison Government had cut TAFE funding by 10.6% ($326m) in 2018 alone.

“Funding cuts to vocational education have seen apprentice numbers decline by 140,000 across the country, exacerbating our current skills shortage,” Haythorpe told the AEU Annual Federal Conference in Melbourne on Friday.

Haythorpe said Australia’s TAFE system offers "a clear solution". 

"[TAFE] offers the highest standard of vocational education at all levels, with nationally accredited programs and a highly qualified and experienced workforce of professional teachers," she said.

‘A complete fabrication’

A spokesman for Small Business Minister, Michaelia Cash, called the claims that funding for TAFE has been slashed under the Morrison Government "a complete fabrication” by the AEU and Labor.

“Labor were architects to the greatest damage to the VET sector,” the spokesman told The Educator.

“Their policy of VET FEE HELP saw billions of dollars defrauded from Australians who were simply trying to attain qualifications for a better job. Any shortage can be attributed to this reputational damage”.

The spokesman said the Federal Government “is still cleaning up Labor’s last foray into vocational training policy”.

“It is the Morrison Government that has started the revival with $585 million Skills Package which will modernise the vocational education and training sector, including the creation of 80,000 apprenticeships,” the spokesman said.

“If Ms Plibersek was serious about skills reform she would throw her support behind the Morrison Government’s extensive reform agenda”.