A robust TasTAFE is still achievable, despite a turbulent 12 months for the public vocational education provider.
That’s according to University of Tasmania researcher Sue Kilpatrick, who has worked in VET for 45 years.
“I think it’s recoverable,” she said.
“However, this is a bit of work to be done.”
Ms Kilpatrick’s career has spanned two states, and various institutions, including TAFEs themselves and research organisations.
The future of TasTAFE has been at the centre of The Examiner’s Pick up the Tools campaign, which has been running since April.
Pick up the Tools aims to examine the role of TasTAFE in Tasmania’s education landscape. It also aims to highlight the successes of the sector and its graduates.
The long-awaited external audit of TasTAFE’s governance was released on Thursday by Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff.
Ms Kilpatrick said the report pointed to issues with the administration.
“Issues, in my view, that would almost, most likely, lead to reduced morale,” she said.
“We found out that it didn’t cannabalise students, it actually grew out student numbers.”- Sue Kilpatrick
However, she said it was pleasing to hear the board and the chief executive had already addressed some of the issues in the audit.
She said ideally TasTAFE needed to be a place where people learned “foundation skills” so that the community would benefit.
“There are three beneficiaries [from a strong TAFE]; the student, the employer and the community,” she said.
In addition, she felt more collaboration with other higher education providers would be a benefit.
University associate degrees which embedded TasTAFE qualifications into it could help to bridge the gap.
Steps towards that goal are being taken by the University College, to encourage a ‘single-front-door approach.’
Ms Kilpatrick said a similar approach was done at Deakin University when she worked there.
“We found out that it didn’t cannabalise students, it actually grew our student numbers,” she said.