Further TAFE job cuts likely in new contestable training market

The effective corporatisation of TAFE Queensland last year (see Qld TAFE to become statutory body) and the push for greater contestability in training funding – both of which I support – will no doubt lead to a rationalisation of Queensland TAFEs and further job cuts as TAFEs struggle to compete with private providers such as Sarina Russo. There have already been a number of job cuts at TAFEs since TAFE Queensland was corporatised (e.g. About 50 jobs to go at Brisbane North TAFE,  Union airs fears over TAFE north Qld job cuts) and I expect further cuts over the next few years.

TAFEs in other States appear under pressure, too, given this report out of NSW today: Job cuts feared at Hornsby TAFE after fine art department axed. I’m unclear about the rationale for the axing of the fine arts departments at the Hornsby TAFE, but it would either be because it’s a high cost course or demand is shifting to other courses, or a combination of both.

Cuts to arts courses at TAFE are probably not a big deal for the economy, given that arts courses at TAFE typically have relatively poorer outcomes that other courses in terms of getting students into jobs. See, for example, Table 10 on page 15 of the Student Outcomes Survey 2013. I expect creative arts courses, particularly fashion design which has pretty poor employment outcomes, will face significant cuts in Queensland, too.

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