The SSTUWA has responded to new data apprentice and trainee numbers falling dramatically in WA saying that fee increases will only make the trend worse.
Sam Schofield, Vice President of the SSTUWA, said:
"While the data from the NCVER (National Centre for Vocational Education Research) presented yesterday for the 2014 March quarter are National Estimates, we are feeling the effects of these trends in WA.
In a state where trades and apprenticeships are an essential part of supporting our economy, it is important to support the supply of skilled employees.
However, when programs like the Tools for Your Trade which provided a direct payment of up to $5,500 to an apprentice to help with expenses associated with starting their apprenticeship, cease as of the 1st of July 2014, this only creates more of a hindrance to attract people to commence and continue down trades and apprenticeship pathways.
Student in WA will also see higher contributions for TAFE course with increases up by 19% over the next 3 years as flagged in the State Budget. This will inevitably impact on current and future students considerations of enrolling and continuing in TAFE courses.
There are 10 programs that will be cut as a result of the Federal budget; these programs were to provide basic literacy and numeracy skills and to up-skill existing workers.
With incentives and assistance programs lost, and with HECS style loans for TAFE courses coming into place, this further widens the gap of accessible and alternative education.
This is yet again another indication of alternative tertiary education becoming less available to the most vulnerable in our society."