Five apprenticeship courses, including wood machining and automotive trimming, will not be offered in WA in 2016, meaning students must fly to Queensland.
Department of Training and Workforce Development director-general Ruth Shean confirmed the Government would pay for student flights to Queensland, as well as a $110-a-day accommodation allowance, but insisted the changes were cost-effective.
�There is a lack of demand for enrolments in these qualifications, which makes it unviable for Polytechnic West to continue to deliver the courses,� Dr Shean said.
�This is a cost-effective strategy and represents better value for taxpayers than continuing delivery in WA with high infrastructure costs and low participation rates.�
Motor vehicle and marine trimming lecturer Drew Menzies said the decision could deter students from the trades and force businesses to look elsewhere for staff.
�We�ve got low numbers in apprentices � part of that is because everyone went mining, but now it�s slowly drying up � but any new apprentices in these trades won�t be able to train in WA, they�ll have to go to the Eastern States,� Mr Menzies said.
�We had three apprentices coming though last year who have all now given up because they couldn�t get any clarification on where or how they would do their training.�
Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman said the State Government needed to diversify trades training in WA in the wake of continued mining job losses, rather than funnel students into a select few industries.
�It is clear that there is still demand for these courses, otherwise they simply wouldn�t offer them at all,� she said.
�Tendering them out then sending our training to an interstate campus makes no sense; it is costly and disrespectful to students and their personal commitments, asking them to travel interstate to get a qualification to meet WA�s industry needs.�
Dr Shean said Tafe fees would rise this year, with student contribution to course fees increasing to around 17.5 per cent, from 15 per cent.
Apprenticeships to go:
Automotive and marine trimming