Changes to the delivery of some construction courses at TasTAFE have some teachers fearful an axe is about to fall on one certificate.
Teachers in the built environments section of TasTAFE have raised concerns with the Tasmanian Education Union that the Certificate IV in building and construction is about to be cut from the curriculum.
However, TasTAFE chief executive Grant Dreher said no changes to the Certificate IV had been made, but construction courses are being reviewed.
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Tasmanian Education Union TAFE president Simon Bailey said he'd been contacted by teachers, in emails sighted by The Examiner, that the Certificate IV in building and construction was being cut.
Teachers have told the union they believe students enrolled in that course have been told it will no longer continue past 2021.
However, that fact is disputed by TasTAFE senior management, who say the review is simply to examine course structure.
"There are no plans to stop the delivery of the Certificate IV in building and construction," Mr Dreher said.
"What we are looking to do is improve and strengthen this program, as we do with all the 250 training products and 90 skill sets."
However, one change that has come into effect this year is in relation to the Diploma of Building and Construction. TasTAFE has entered into a partnership with Master Builders Tasmania to deliver the course, which has been approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority.
Master Builders Tasmania executive director Matthew Pollock said the arrangement had come into effect this year.
"We have an existing partnership with TasTAFE to deliver the diploma and we've consulted with them on the review of building courses," Mr Pollock said.
"This is standard practice...From our perspective it's been encouraging that TasTAFE has wanted to partner closely with us on the course delivery," he said.
Mr Bailey said if courses were being cut in favour of private third-party training it was "privatisation by stealth."
"It's OK to have third party agreements if we cannot deliver a program," he said.
"However, when we have the teachers and the students then we should be delivering the course and/or increasing the teachers to do so. We should not be giving up courses to private RTOs."
Master Builders Tasmania is not a private RTO but the arrangement has all the approvals from ASQA in its agreement with TasTAFE.
Construction and building have been touted by the Tasmanian Government as being critical industries to help the state literally rebuild after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also an industry that is suffering staff shortages due to a high number of people retiring and the costs associated with apprentices.
Mr Dreher said TasTAFE did not have plans to scale down the construction courses.
"At a time when there is record investment in infrastructure and new dwellings, TasTAFE will continue to deliver the skills needed by the building and construction industry," he said.