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Southern Tasmanian automotive training in Jeopardy

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Tasmanian Education Association condemns workshop closure

The Tasmanian Education Association (TEA) is disgusted with the decision of the Skills Institute Board to move their automotive workshop from Hobart to Launceston.

The Skills institute (TSI), CEO Malcolm White, announced the closure last week saying that the Hobart workshops were no longer industry standard and that current budgetary restrictions meant there was no capital available to improve the facility.

The TEA rejects this absolutely. Automotive staff in Hobart insist that the facility is up to standard. The Hobart facility has been in operation since the 1990’s and teachers have worked around minor issues. Management has known about these matters since the facility was built and there has never been a problem. This deplorable situation begs the question: “Why all of a sudden is the facility deemed to be unsuitable?”

TEA president, Greg Brown, said: “Workshops around Tasmania are shared by the Skills Institute and the Tasmanian Polytechnic. As both institutions deliver the same training packages and, according to Mr White the Hobart facility is now unsuitable, he should explain why the Polytechnic does not have a problem with it.”

“That the Polytech is continuing to use the Hobart automotive workshop is a clear endorsement of the quality of the Hobart facility,” Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown said that the increased costs associated with the delivery of automotive training in Tasmania are due to the poor management of the TSI Board.

Mr Brown said: “Everybody knows that the inefficient and excessive amount of on-the-job assessment around the state has caused the budget blowout, but this is the mode of delivery that the TSI Board insists upon. Teachers are sick and tired of telling them.”

“Now employers in Hobart will face increased costs for travel and accommodation in Launceston,” Mr Brown said. “For many small firms losing their apprentices on block training in Launceston for two to three weeks has the potential to damage their businesses because apprentices will be unavailable for work.”

As there are currently 150 automotive apprentices being trained in southern Tasmania, the TEA regards this is a sufficient number to justify the retention of the Hobart workshops.

“It is estimated that sending these 150 students back and forth to Launceston will cost upwards of $200,000 per annum,” Mr Brown said.

“If employers in southern Tasmania refuse to pay the additional costs they will stop putting on apprentices and we all know that shortages of qualified tradespeople will mean increased costs for the community. Students and employers will suffer because of the poor policy and decision making of the TSI Board,” Mr Brown said. (Ends)

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. James

    February 23, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Greg Brown, said: “Workshops around Tasmania are shared by the Skills Institute and the Tasmanian Polytechnic. As both institutions deliver the same training packages and, according to Mr White the Hobart facility is now unsuitable, he should explain why the Polytechnic does not have a problem with it.”

    Comprehending this makes my head hurt a little!#%@

    Why do we have two ‘institutions’; wouldn’t it be better to go back to one (TAFE) and spend the money that is currently spent duplicating bureaucracy, on things like improving the hobart training facility if that is what is needed.

  2. Poly parrot

    February 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Well Greg you had better keep your powder dry. The week before Christmas part time and contract teachers at Polytechnic were told they would not be needed any more as “surplus TSI teachers would fill any positions”. Anyone the TSI wanted rid of were dumped onto Polytechnic, without any experience in dealing with the disengaged youth and mature age students that make up the bulk of Polytechnic business. Teachers registrations were rushed through to allow them to teach our most vunerable students.

    Now Malcom White has gone cap in hand for money to pay out more teachers to leave and you can bet that Polytechnic will be next. In the mean time the ones who suffer are the students and their families who were given hope of a future. Delivery times have been cut, support for students with trouble Lit/Numeracy have been slashed. We had a would class reputation with TAFE Tasmania. I have been in the “system” for 19 years and have lived through many of the changes but for the first time I am thinking of putting up my hand next time they are looking for people to jump.

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