Leader of The Nationals WA Mia Davies says funding announced for TAFE to deliver modern facilities for training and education in regional WA is positive, but said the biggest challenge for the system has yet to be addressed.
Ms Davies said new training centre builds would create construction jobs, however, the Education Minister had still failed to address concerns TAFE courses were failing to respond to the needs of WA industry.
“The DTWD Skills Review released this week confirms what industry has been telling us and Government for several years – the future of TAFE requires contemporary courses and highly-skilled industry-trained lecturers,” Ms Davies said.
“Key industries and business vote with their feet and while TAFE fails to meet their requirements they will continue to pursue other options to train workers to the standard they need.
“The State Government’s current approach means we’ll end up with new training facilities but no answer to the issues of recruiting and supporting staff to deliver coursework appropriate to industry in regional WA.
“It’s an indictment on their management of the system that many major businesses in regional WA prefer to send their staff to Perth for training.
“TAFE needs to be working directly with the agriculture, resources, childcare and aged care sectors to design courses with contemporary content that can be delivered by locals in the region they work in.”
Education spokesperson Peter Rundle said like a lot of businesses during COVID-19 restrictions, TAFEs now needed to pivot and serve the needs of communities and business across the State.
“The structure of TAFE management is also failing our communities,” he said.
“Central Regional TAFE stretches from Geraldton through the Mid West, Gascoyne and Wheatbelt to Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields, all managed from Geraldton.
“The task for the Board and management to understand and respond to business needs across such a vast area is monumental and doesn’t work.
“Decentralised, local decision making is crucial to helping our TAFEs serve regional communities and industries well through the recovery from COVID.
“This government’s priority should be to ensure each campus communicates with industry and key stakeholders to establish courses, content and highly skilled lecturers aligned to specific locations.”