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Your views: on TAFE, Centrelink, Olsen and Crows

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the Marshall government looking to cut TAFE courses, being older and on JobSeeker, and Adelaide Football Clubs’s new focus under a new chairman.

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Commenting on the story: Private providers favoured over “uncompetitive” TAFE: Marshall

I can not believe what I am reading. I left TAFE in 1997 because the government was becoming obsessed with “Not education for quality, but education for price”.

It became more about bums on seats and dollars. I left a department that was leading the state in quality training and flexibility. Try open entry, open exit, self-paced learning and vertical grouping for apprentice training, so effective and popular one of the local teachers colleges would send trainee teachers to observe the process.

Employers with new work contracts would contact me and ask when the next programme was going to start and I would reply, “Send them in tomorrow.” The trainees enjoyed the programme because as soon as their goals were met they would return to work and not sit out the rest of the week twiddling their thumbs. Vertical grouping saw a mix of apprentices and unemployed youth working together; this gave the latter the opportunity to hear and talk about working life with apprentices

But sadly it all started to change in 1997. Classrooms went back to rows of desks, trainees had to start Monday morning and finish at close time on Friday, new trainees had to wait until the next programme commenced which could have been weeks away. Yes, TAFE is more expensive than private providers because TAFE is the real deal. There in no such thing as cheep education, only quality education.

At the time I had a new trainee wanting to move on with the next module of training as this programme was not available from the  private provider. To my surprise, during the interview he informs me he had had no practical experience as it was only demonstrations from instructors, hence we had to give him a condensed version of the first module before he was available to commence the second.

I must point out all this training was given by fully qualified staff, all with trade backgrounds, extensive time in the appropriate industry, diplomas of teaching and finally, a commitment to quality training. – Rex Way

Private providers have failed to meet employment standards for graduates in the past, leaving students having paid for a sub-standard qualification which is not accepted by their employment field.

It is easy to ‘be competitive’ if corners are cut, and standards are lowered and there is no consequence for producing unemployable graduates. The unhappy graduates will be left on the dole queue and out of pocket, TAFE will be trashed and RTOs will pocket the cash. – Elspeth McInnes

As an ex TAFE SA employee, redundant in 2013, I have been privy to a number of organisational arrangements which this and prior governments seem reluctant to make clear to the general public.

The expectation for TAFE to be competitive on a level playing field with private RTO’s is a furphy given that (at the time), the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology was directly responsible to the Minister and also was the landlord of all the buildings in which TAFE conducted its business.

The cost for a number of sites were extremely expensive and unlike many private RTOs, TAFESA  was not able to retain any profit  for future developments as well as resource development. Private RTOs have no such restrictions, so it is disengenous to expect TAFE to fulfil the expectations of the government when administratively it has hamstrung  the structure of TAFE. – Keven Cocks

My experience with two supposedly identical courses; one private, one TAFE.

The TAFE course was less generic and tailored to the individual requirements of the students.

The private course seemed to be only interested in getting you to attend every week so they could sign the required number off at the end of the course to get their Government funding.

Professionally I have noticed that many of the electricians completing the data component have very limited practical knowledge and as a consequence do very ‘average’ installations, which require considerable remediation if they are to function at optimal performance.

This is not so noticeable with TAFE graduates. I have heard similar comments about other courses. – Adrian Dormer

Of course the private sector will get the gig. Give it two years and then they will charge many times their present figures, just like all private services.

As we see constantly, promises, promises, promises and underdeliver. That’s all the government wants; their contributors cleaning up and the public getting screwed, again. – Lee McCurtayne

In a staggering case of mass amnesia, the Marshall Government will handball TAFE SA courses to private training providers. Just four years ago, many of these providers used illegal scams to sign up battling students to dodgy courses, to get their hands on their Fee-Help money.

It was one of the greatest frauds in Australian history, costing millions of dollars and the Federal Government’s VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures will take years to wipe out those student debts. The remedy is to property fund TAFE SA. – Malcolm King

Whenever short-sighted politicians diminish our ability to educate our people, we constrain our future, we constrain our aspirations, and we steal from our children.

The gobsmacking stupidity of this clearly demonstrates Marshall and Pisoni’s view that, rather than being the nation-building asset it was designed to be, TAFE should be relegated to the status of a welfare program meeting its ‘community service obligations’!

They’re acting more like asset-stripping venture capitalists than a government!

The private, for-profit, providers will do what they’ve always done, which is to cherry pick the training they can make a profit from, rather than providing the broad vocational education that South Australians and industry need.

There was a time when South Australia could be rightly proud of its modern, committed high quality training system, led by the public TAFE system.

TAFE played an important role in every major economic and social development in modern times. I am a product of its good work and I understand the transformational power of a high quality vocational education provided by a publicly owned provider.

How idiotic would you have to be to think that private training organisations that exist solely to make profit would ever preference the needs of students over their shareholders. It didn’t, despite the promises, happen with water, electricity, telecommunications, banking, aged care, health insurance, early childhood education, yada yada yada.

The education of our people is not a business venture. It is the means by which we grow, by which we challenge ourselves, and “the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of the world”, to steal a sneaky quote from Richard Shaull.

It’s timely as we grind our way through the morass of the US presidential election to remind ourselves of the words of a former US President, William Taft, who in 1910 said:

“I think the most important education that we have is the education which now I am glad to say is being more widely accepted as the proper one, and one which ought to be more widely diffused. That industrial vocational education which puts young men and women in a position from which they can by their own efforts work themselves to independence.”

Marshall and Pisoni though, appear to be more firmly in the Elwood Cubberly camp. Cubberly’s view is summed up in a quote from a 1905 speech in which he said:

“Schools should be factories in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products … manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry.”

Our children are not ‘products’, they are not customers, and they are not consumers! Our children deserve the best eduction that we can provide them.

The Marshalls and the Pisonis come and go. History will not waste much time on either of them. The damage that they are doing along the way however, if not defeated, will last much longer that our memory of either of them.

Their crude attacks on a trusted and respected South Australian education icon, one that has been deliberately hamstrung by a stupid government, must not be allowed to go unchallenged. Ian Curry, national coordinator Skills, Training & Apprenticeships Policy, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union

Commenting on the story: Centrelink JobSeeker suspensions rise as mutual obligations resume

I’d just like to say how much harder things have become for people my age (61). With so many people out of work now, we have no hope in hell of being employed when it is better to employ someone younger, quicker and less likely to have a heart attack on the job.

May as well just take us out to a paddock and shoot us all. – Kerrie White

I’m now in my 60s. Job clubs have never helped me find a job, ever. I have always found my own. I upskilled and still can’t get an interview, never mind a job.

Now that I’m 60 what chance do I have? Job”seeker” when reduced won’t even cover my rent. – Kim Burlington

Since payments being made for JobKeeper, stores here are struggling to get workers. Many positions available, and was told the people were getting more from JobKeeper than what they pay. I noticed Woolworths had at least 20 jobs needed filling.

There seems to be a need for some system to be put in place so where there are jobs they are filled and people not given money for doing nothing.

I am a retired person and worked all my years into my sixties. I always got work and I was not an academic. – Carol Barton

Commenting on the story: SA councils say higher Centrelink JobSeeker rate good for recipients, economy

We’ve also got to remember that there are JobSeeker recipients that are working for the dole long-term, and volunteering for the dole long-term.

It’s highly unlikely that a 65-year-old with arthritis and other problems going to interviews on a walker or a walking stick is going to get a job. Old people are on JobSeeker and it is unlikely that they will get a job at the moment with such low job aspects.

There is a definite stigma attached to the JobSeeker payment, that people on this payment are lazy. You can’t be lazy on JobSeeker, there are requirements that you must undertake in an individual plan, or you can do volunteer work  for the payment. There’s no laziness I can assure you, it’s all activity. I call for a permanent significant rise in JobSeeker. – Lynda Wallace

Commenting on the story: Olsen to review Crows’ non-football ventures and immediately begin hunt for city home

I have worked with John Olsen for some 20 years, both when he was Premier and subsequently as Consul General in LA and New York.

South Australia and more particularly the Adelaide Crows have the enormous good fortune to have John Olsen. He is a man of immense talent, enthusiasm and drive. If the Crows are not premiers within four years I will be very surprised. – David Evans

It was a foregone conclusion that when John Olsen took over the Crows the Adelaide Aquatic Centre would be back on the agenda. I still say no to the Crows!

I say to the Adelaide City Council and to Steven Marshall, don’t allow it, this is a community space not a commercial one. – Ann Cochrane

In my mind there is one logical and ideal place for the Crows home base; in its heartland – Norwood Oval.

Just work out a sharing agreement with NFC. – Peter Macdonald

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