by Tony Morrissey
Minister for Skills, Deputy Premier and the Member for Monaro John Barilaro is failing in his duty to crack down on for-profit ‘shonky’ private providers by allowing them to give certificate 111qualification in Age Care to workers in just six weeks. This has resulted in some students not having the basic skills in showering people. Some cannot speak English or read medication charts.
Another private provider recently issued a Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE 30811) to an ex-Telstra worker who attended the course for ONLY six weeks. Four weeks after his “quickie” graduation, the newly-minted sparkie got his Electrical Contractor license, putting the trade to shame.
Under this government TAFE has sacked 5,550 teachers, resulting in the discontinuance of many courses and has sold 27 TAFE colleges, 21 of which are in country areas.
Also being Minister for Regional Development, Barilaro should know selling a TAFE college in the bush spells the death knell for a country town, especially those with high youth unemployment. TAFE colleges are the only institute where affordable and recognized vocational courses are taught. This is the first place where workers who are made redundant seek help.
As a Power Station Electrician at Bunnerong Power Station, the Electricity Commission of NSW encouraged me to do the TAFE Electrical Engineering course. The fee in 1970s was only $26 or roughly $300 today’s money. Now this course costs $20,000. No wonder there are no takers. Consequently the course had been discontinued.
While doing this course I was encouraged by the dedicated TAFE teachers to go on to university. This course gave me the skills; knowledge and desire to complete an Electrical Engineering Degree at UNSW.
In order to safeguard the high standards of Australian tradespeople, trade courses should only be run by qualified and experienced staff at TAFE colleges nationwide. Only then can the public can be confident that when they engage a plumber, electrician, builder motor mechanic, or other tradespeople, their services will be of a high and safe standard.