TAFE system should focus on delivering needs for employers

THE Queensland TAFE system is currently not serving the needs of the non-mining industries, which are struggling to retain staff attracted by the big dollars offered in resources jobs.

A parliamentary hearing into the national TAFE system in Brisbane heard from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland on Friday.

The chamber was among several groups, including unions, community and agricultural groups and the Queensland Resources Council to speak at the hearing.

In its submission, the CCIQ cited a need to move the state's TAFE system from a "social outcomes" focus to actually delivering the needs of employers.

The chamber said in particular, the competition between non-mining and resource companies for workers led to young apprentices "jumping ship" for better wages in mining.

"This is concerning, as it means employers, particularly small business owners, will be less likely to hire apprentices, which are often targeted by the resources sector," the submission reads.

It also highlighted the need in regional areas for more targeted TAFE courses towards the professions "in need", rather than simply focussing on the resources industries.

While the submission recognised the contribution of mining in Queensland, it said the government needed to "place greater responsibility on the resources sector to train staff themselves".

However, a submission from the Minerals Council of Australia said the sector spent more on training per employee than most sectors, and "significantly more than the national average".

The MCA wrote the VET and TAFE sectors had "largely failed to meet the needs of the minerals industry", citing poor quality outcomes from the education sector.

Also speaking at the hearing was Australian Education Union federal TAFE secretary Pat Forward, who argued TAFE was "the worst funded of all the education sectors".

"While there have been steady increases in funding to other education sectors over the past fourteen years, TAFEs now receive just 75c of every dollar they received in 1999," he said.

He said due to "sustained cuts" TAFE staff were "effectively being asked to do more and more, with less and less".

The parliamentary inquiry is due to report before the end of the month.



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