TAFE sounds the tocsin: time to lead the policy discussion

TAFE leaders “despair” at the state of the voced debate says Mary Farone, Holmesglen Institute CEO and chair of TAFE Directors Australia.

Speaking at the TDA conference Ms Farone warned; There are increasingly more and more commentators on the sector, about what it should be like, what it should do, and what it doesn’t do well.”

TAFE is also ““in danger of being swallowed up by universities at the diploma level and at the policy level the understanding of the sector only extends to apprenticeships and trainneeships”.

In a call to arms Ms Farone told the conference, “it is time to take back the narrative about technical, vocational and tertiary education and lead the discussion with clear thought leadership about how the sector can assist, not just with apprenticeships and traineeships but across the gamut of qualifications from certificate one to masters programs.

“We need to lead the charge of excellence, industry collaboration and learner outcomes. Let’s get back to where we belong, as the number one technical, vocational and tertiary provider in Australia,” Ms Farone said. (See below for an example of TDA making the policy running.)

It’s an exhortation embraced by Labor skills spokesman Doug Cameron who made it plain at the conference that for the ALP, TAFE is a synonym for training. Senator Cameron repeated the party pledge that two-thirds of all vocational education and training budget spending, “will go to the most trusted VET provider in the country – and that is TAFE.

“Without the TAFE Network, Australia would be less competitive, less skilled, less innovative. Labor recognises this and we will ensure TAFE continues its tremendous contribution to this great country.”