Tafe enrolments in freefall

Polytechnic West, which has a campus in Thornlie, only dropped 3.2 per cent while Central Institute of Technology dropped by 12.3 per cent, Challenger Institute went down 7.7 per cent and West Coast Institute fell 6.7 per cent.

State School Teachers� Union vice-president Samantha Schofield said the huge drop in student numbers came on the back of fee hikes of more than 600 per cent in some courses over two years.

�These figures prove that a Tafe education is now out of reach for many West Australians,� she said.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said it had more to do with the way the economy was performing.

�The State School Teachers� Union claim that funding decisions are the primary driver for overall reductions in training demand are baseless and reveals a fundamental ignorance of the training market,� she said.

�The training sector expands and contracts along with the economic environment.

�Although there was an overall decline in course enrolments of 4 per cent, there was a 9 per cent increase in the number of priority course enrolments; this indicates the policy is achieving its objectives.�

A Polytechnic West spokesman said enrolments in broad priority training areas at Polytechnic West increased by 2.5 per cent last year, from 17,604 enrolments in 2013 to 18,044 enrolments in 2014.

According to the department of Training Workforce and Development, 90 per cent of WA graduates were employed or went onto further study after completing training.

The spokesman said the Future Skills WA program would provide a guaranteed training place for eligible students enrolled in courses that are deemed State priority qualifications.

�Future Skills WA will provide a more sustainable training system in the State while ensuring that people gain skills that lead to jobs in demand,� he said.