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VET Fee Caps - Deregulation By Stealth?

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Tags: Education, TasTAFE, Vocational Education

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Education spokesperson

Changes to VET Fee-Help (VFH) mean that many TasTAFE courses won't be filled for the year ahead. This can only mean that many young Tasmanians are missing out on a key part of their education.

Reduced caps mean courses will be run with fewer participants, unless students who are able to pay for courses enrol. TasTAFE as at risk of being deregulated by stealth.

There's already been public outrage about the unscrupulous private service providers who offer enrolment incentives and then leave students with a large debts. Capping VFH risks that happening at TasTAFE.

This is a serious roadblock for young Tasmanians wanting to do vocational courses. Many will have to work long hours on top of their study, or have to drop out because of the high cost.

A diploma costs between $4,500 and $15,000, and it's hard to see how students will be able to pay for that, even with payment plans. This does nothing to support young Tasmanians to be job ready.

The Liberals talk a big game when it comes to our tourism and construction industries. Surely, our education system should reflect that.

Minister Rockliff needs to demand his federal counterparts fix this, and he needs to do it now.

If that fails, it's up to the state government to make sure our VET students are supported.