17 December 2012
Teachers ask Baillieu: "Spare a thought for us" this Christmas
The AEU has released a booklet of personal stories from a number of Victorian TAFE teachers who have lost their jobs as a result of the Government's $300 million in cuts to TAFE in 2012.
Addressed to Premier Baillieu, the booklet – Spare a Thought for Us this Christmas: A Message from Victorian TAFE Teachers – has also been sent to all Members of Parliament.
AEU Victorian Branch President Mary Bluett said the booklet told the real story of the cuts and the enormous impact they were having on people's lives and the sector.
"These stories are sentiments felt across the estimated 2000 Victorian TAFE staff made redundant. As the Premier, Ted Baillieu must take responsibility for the job losses, course cancellations, campus closures and fee increases for students in TAFE," Bluett says.
"The strength of the Victorian economy is reliant on the skills of its workforce. These cuts are not in the interests of our future generation of workers, the community, TAFE institutes or the economy.
"We urge the Government to reverse the policies that have led to the cuts and commit to a well resource, high-quality TAFE sector.
"The effect of these cuts are widespread and the ramifications won't simply disappear like the Government would hope."
Below are excerpts from just a few of the stories featured in the booklet:
I have given 15 years plus of my professional life to the TAFE sector and many more years to higher education. Losing my job has forced me to be very reflective as to my professional skills... Personally, what is my identity now that I no longer have a TAFE teacher identity?... TAFE assists and gives a second chance to battlers who go on to better lives.
Peter Richardson, Swinburne
It has been very rewarding helping people take that step up from unemployment to having hope for their future. At Kangan in Broadmeadows, well over 90% of our student cohort are people from non-English-speaking backgrounds, with many of them being refugees from various war zones over the years. Most of these students would not have thought of, or perhaps even been capable of commencing their studies at university, but realised their potential and capacity through studying in the TAFE environment.
Terry McNamara, Kangan Institute
I hope that one day soon, the politicians who have made these massive funding cuts will see the practical implications of their decisions at work.
Gabrielle Durand, GippsTAFE