TAFE NSW needs to amp up its efficiency to remain competitive in the growing vocational education sector or face financial losses, a report says.
The Boston Consulting Group’s report into the state’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) market found TAFE NSW lags behind its competitors on convenience, cost and its ability to attract new students.
High teaching salaries and low teaching hours contribute to TAFE NSW’s high unit costs, which were found to be 60 per cent higher than other TAFEs around the country.
“TAFE NSW has become an expensive, high-cost system where 40 to 60 cents in each dollar spent on TAFE is going towards administration and backroom costs, not on frontline teaching,” NSW Minister for Skills John Barilaro said on Wednesday.
“The current system is failing students, failing industry, and failing to meet the demands of employers to create the workforce for the jobs of tomorrow,” he said.
Smaller TAFE Institutes in New England, the Riverina and Western NSW were found to be too “sub-scale” to successfully compete in the market.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said education at those three institutes was a vital pathway to employment for the 80,000 regional students who studied there each year.
“Losing these three TAFE institutes could see public VET training cease in regional cities like Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Broken Hill, Armidale and Tamworth as well as many smaller country towns,” Mr Shoebridge said on Wednesday.
“Rather than stand beside this low-quality report Minister Barilaro needs to put it in the recycling and then seek an immediate refund from Boston Consulting of the no doubt hundreds of thousands of public dollars wasted in paying for it.”