Tasmania's vocational education provider has hosed down claims by the electrical union that apprentices are being turned away due to a teaching shortage.
The Communications Electrical and Plumbing lashed out at state and federal governments on Thursday for "breaking the TAFE system" and claimed a "resourcing crisis" had meant apprentices were being turned away from the institution.
However, TasTAFE chief executive Jenny Dodd said apprentices were not being turned away and TasTAFE was working with industry to meet the demands of the sector.
"Apprentice numbers in Tasmania, particularly in traditional trades, are increasing and TasTAFE is working to ensure we have capacity to accommodate this increase in a number of ways, including recruiting additional teachers and amending timetabling," Ms Dodd said.
CEPU state secretary Michael Anderson called the situation "hopeless".
“We already have a massive skill shortage, and lack of apprentices being employed. It’s been bad enough that the state government has not backed in local labour on major projects by enforcing apprentice ratios or making sure local workers are even preferred on jobs.”
“But this a new low, and from what we’re hearing, not confined to electrical and plumbing training," he said.
Mr Anderson said a lack of teaching resources, and no succession planning meant teachers had been pushed to breaking point.
“When teachers quit, or are on leave, or are sick, nothing is in place to cover that work, so teachers have been covering and covering as best they can, using time they would otherwise spend marking work teaching more and more classes, but are not prepared any longer to stretch themselves and degrade all of their work," he said.
Ms Dodd said TasTAFE was in the process of recruiting for new teaching staff in the electrotechnology and plumbing areas in the south and remaining positions will be filled on completion of recruitment.
A new plumbing teacher has also recently began working, with more to follow.
"Amendments to timetables have taken place to allow for the commencement of new teaching staff, and to ensure continuity of delivery for apprentices," she said.
"TasTAFE is a demand-driven organisation and remains committed to working with the state government and with industry to meet the training needs of apprentices."