My contribution this evening is on the South West Institute of TAFE 2013 annual report.
The South West Institute of TAFE is the largest vocational training provider in the south-west of Victoria, and over the reporting period the institute delivered accredited courses to over 11 600 students with 2.89 million student contact hours.
It has campuses at Hamilton, Portland, Warrnambool and Sherwood Park, although training also extends on campus to workplaces, vocational educational and training in schools, international and interstate programs.
There is a conscious movement towards a flexible model of education delivery in order to cater for the changing market of skill shortages, smaller cohorts of students and difficulties that rural students face in accessing education.
The students of the institute reported excellent outcomes through the student outcomes survey: 78.2 per cent of graduates were employed after training, over 80 per cent of graduates found the training was relevant to their current job, 88 per cent of graduates were employed or in further study after training and 87 per cent of graduates were satisfied with the overall quality of their training.
Another highlight was the achievement of student Tristan Kemp. While completing a certificate III in horticulture, parks and gardens, he travelled to the UK for 10 weeks on a study trip.
When he was overseas he and 17 other horticulturalists won best-in-show honours at the Chelsea Flower Show. This was the first Australian entry to have won in the show’s history.
South West TAFE also participated in a range of rural projects, including the Great South Coast Health Articulation project designed to respond to the region’s growing need for skilled professionals in acute, respite and allied health settings.
The institute has done all of this despite an impact on its bottom line.
The annual report details that although a net operating deficit of $4.36 million is recorded, it is a better return than anticipated, given the $2.8 million cut it experienced in government funding.
There were also significant adjustments in expenditure, including redundancy payments that needed to be paid out to employees who were forced to leave.
Some 49 full-time positions were lost at the institute as a result of government cuts.
Unfortunately South West TAFE recorded similar participation statistics to other Victorian TAFEs, with participation of people aged between 25 and 64 years reduced by 427 students between 2012 and 2013 and the participation of people aged between 15 and 24 years reduced by 657 students.
The latter figure is of particular concern given that Australian Bureau of Statistics jobless figures show a massive rise in unemployment rates for Victorians aged 15 to 24 years, especially in regional Victoria, and we saw those issues extensively canvassed before the house today in opposition business.
The South West Institute of TAFE has in dire funding circumstances achieved many positive outcomes in 2013.
It managed to record 2.98 million student contact hours and continues to offer 220 courses.
So many regional Victorians rely on the South West Institute of TAFE for their training and education.
Their training also benefits industry, reduces rates of unemployment and strengthens the community.
Finally, I take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of all staff, students and management during this extremely challenging time.
I stand here, like I did earlier today, and say that I look forward to the election of a Labor government later this year so there can be a restoration of the importance of training, education and the TAFE sector to this state.