TAFE figures hit new low

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
TAFE WA South Regional, Albany campus.
Camera IconTAFE WA South Regional, Albany campus. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Enrolments at Albany’s TAFE campus last year dropped to their lowest level since it opened in 2013.

Department of Training and Workforce Development figures showed 3786 students enrolled at South Regional TAFE Albany in 2018, down nearly 19 per cent on its opening year.

That continued a trend of decreasing enrolments recorded in the previous year.

South Regional TAFE Albany opened with 4653 students in 2013, and enrolments remained steady in 2014 before dropping to 4100 in 2015.

“An aberration” caused by the amalgamation of 11 TAFEs to five saw enrolments rise to 5000 in 2016, before dropping to new lows in later years.

Department of Training and Workforce Development director general Anne Driscoll blamed the drop on increased interest in university study and reputational damage to TAFEs from the VET FEE-HELP student loan scandal.

“Since 2012, deliveries (at TAFE) had decreased by 40.6 per cent nationally while WA has experienced a decline of 21.1 per cent over the same period,” she said.

“There is likely to be a number of explanations for this declining trend which has affected States and Territories to varying extents, including students turning to higher education options and reputational damage to the VET sector as a result of the disastrous VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme.”

The VET FEE-HELP financial assistance scheme was abandoned in 2016 after some private providers were found to have engaged in misleading, deceptive and unconscionable conduct to secure student loans.

Meanwhile, enrolment at the University of Western Australia’s Albany campus has dropped to 411 in 2019 from a five-year peak of 553 in 2016.

That is understood to be partly because of the increased popularity of online courses, and postgraduate students completing their studies.

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