Students are being slugged

BUNBURY students will no longer be able to split their time between TAFE and high school following changes to training arrangements being made by the department of education.

Currently students can attend school part time and complete Vocational Award training courses through the South West Institute of Technology.

From next year, students will have to fund the courses themselves and be enrolled as full time TAFE students.

Currently students who elect to split their time receive the TAFE training with a price capped at $410.

Dalyellup College Principal Jeff Macnish said the change in rules was forcing students into full apprenticeships before they had time to finish high school and decide on the best career path.

“It is already competitive and it is going to be difficult for students who can’t afford the TAFE fees,” Mr Macnish said.

“My only option would be to do a broker deal with TAFE. If I had 10 kids who wanted to do a course, I would need to find money from the parents and my budget to fund the program.”

Shadow Minister for the South West Mick Murraysaid we should not be ignoring the fact that country kids are half as likely to go onto TAFE as city kids.

“You can’t pull resources out of regional education and training and then be surprised when the youth unemployment rate starts to creep up,” Mr Murray said.

“Education and training drives the kind of innovation we need to build a strong, diverse South West economy.”

Department of training and workforce development director general Dr Ruth Shean said the review into Vocational Education Training in schools was conducted this year and identified adjustments to the respective funding arrangement between the department of education and the department of training and workforce development.

“Some of the responsibility for funding for VET in Schools students by the department of training and workforce development in 2015 will now be undertaken by the department of education,” Ms Shean said.

The South West Institute of Technology is the primary provider for VET programs and managing director Duncan Anderson said students who choose to stay in high school would not be disadvantaged if they applied for TAFE when they graduate.

“I continue to engage closely with all secondary schools in the South West to develop practical solutions to ensure students receive high quality, accredited training as part of their WACE requirements,” he said.

Despite the change in rules Mr Anderson said he expected a high uptake of full-time TAFE students for 2016.

Year 11 students already enrolled this year in Vocational Award courses will be allowed to continue their current training arrangements in 2016.

Will these changes affect you or your children?

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