More jobs to go at TAFE

AS MANY as 23 jobs could go from TAFE NSW Riverina Institute from next year when the organisation reveals its restructure plans on Thursday.

Chief among those concerned about what the proposed changes may hold are the Australian Education Union (AEU), which represents teaching staff at the institute.

It's understood that 11 support staff will be among the 23 jobs to go, with the rest of the cuts to be made from its teaching staff.

The number of courses that will be affected by the staffing cuts remains unknown at this stage.

TAFE NSW Riverina Institute director Kerry Penton declined to comment about changes to the organisation when contacted today, citing the need to discuss the issue with affected staff before making a public statement.

Ms Penton plans to reveal the details of the restructure, including how many positions will be affected and what, if any, courses will be cut next year, on Thursday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for TAFE NSW Riverina Institute claimed comments attributed to Ms Penton on ABC Radio today regarding planned cuts had not been made by the institute's director.

The AEU NSW branch TAFE organiser for Riverina, Terry Keeley, said the latest changes represented the latest in a "series of ongoing cuts" sparked by the NSW government stripping $80 million out of TAFE NSW from mid-2012 to 2016.

"These are decisions made by the O'Farrell Government and basically they're just introducing a Victorian-style marketisation of the VET sector," he said.

"On top of that they've announced $80 million to go from TAFE NSW and 800 jobs to be cut from TAFE across the state.

"Obviously the majority of those will be TAFE teachers and this is just the culmination of those policies."

Mr Keeley was keen to stress that any changes outlined by the institute this week would only be proposals, the union understood, with an extensive consultation process to follow between the AEU and TAFE NSW Riverina Institute.

He will travel to Wagga next Tuesday to consult with union members and the wider community about what courses may be affected by the changes.

According to Mr Keeley, second-chance education courses such as the Higher School Certificate provided by TAFE are most at risk of facing the axe.

The member for Wagga, Daryl Maguire, said tough decisions needed to be made in the tertiary education sector in order to ensure the future viability of the TAFE model.

"The taxpayers demand value for their dollar and industry demands providers be competitive," he said.

"Our policies are aimed at delivering the courses that are relevant to industries – that is what is driving our policies.

"Time will tell but I can assure you that decisions are being made in the best interests of the students, who are the focal point of every decision that's made."

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