Loss of Wheatbelt Tafe staff jobs ‘devastating’

Loss of Wheatbelt Tafe staff jobs ‘devastating’

EDUCATION Minister Peter Collier has confirmed 30 administration jobs are to go across regional training centres in the Wheatbelt.

He responded to a question from Agricultural Region MLC Darren West when questioned in Parliament last week about the future of CY O’Connor Institute and other regional campuses.

The college specialised in the delivery of primary industry training in Northam and serviced the local Shires of Toodyay, York and Dowerin.

Under recent changes to the WA training structure, regional campuses were absorbed into Central Regional Tafe.

A decision about the number and placement of staff at each of the regional campuses has not been determined.

Mr West said while he was pleased to learn the Tafe headquarters would be in the regions at Geraldton, the decision was “a devastating loss for Northam”.

He said the latest round of job losses brought the total number to 92 positions axed from regional Tafes.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said residents would continue to have access to training facilities. “All of the 70 campuses located around the State, including facilities in the Wheatbelt, are continuing to operate in their current locations and courses offered will not be changed.

“Tafe will not be taken out of the region,” she said.

There would be a stronger emphasis on collaboration and sharing of resources across regional and metropolitan colleges, leading to a greater diversity in training oppor- tunities.

Central Regional Tafe interim managing director Bill Swetman said vocational and educational would grow to meet changing needs.

“Our new college will be bigger and stronger, and is committed to ensuring we deliver on the training and workforce development needs of our region,” he said.

“Through the period of merger we are continuing to deliver high quality programs with skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated staff.”

The Tafe college has 400 staff and about 10,000 students studying across 220 courses.

Mr Swetman said the college would continue to be a leader in maritime studies, agriculture, land management, mining and nursing.

He invited local industries and communities to discuss ways in which the college could better meet training requirements.