||Issue No. 333||17 November 2006|
Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
TAFE Chiefs Want WorkChoices Cut
TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) wants to ditch on-the-job apprenticeships for two-year classroom-based diplomas that would force potential trades people to pay its institutions for their training.
The radical proposal, which appears to fly in the face of policies of Labor Governments that oversee TAFEs nationwide, was launched at the TDA conference in Adelaide, this week.
The scheme has been lashed by the AMWU as "part and parcel of John Howard's WorkChoices agenda".
National president, Julius Roe, said evidence showed the TDA's core contention, that traditional apprenticeships were outdated, was "just plain wrong".
He said trade apprenticeships had increased over the last two years in the face of a lack of federal government support.
"There are many more young Australians looking for apprenticeships than places available. The key is to offer them places, not wreck the system," Roe said.
"It is extremely disappointing to see TAFE directors join John Howard's attack on the trades.
"This approach will lead to partially trained workers who don't have the necessary practical experience and learning. It will remove all obligations on employers to contribute to the development of skills and training and shift that burden to students and the public."
The proposal was unveiled barely a month after an arm of TAFE NSW was sprung training Chinese workers for a labour hire outfit that appeared set to use them to undercut Australian wages and conditions.
The NSW Government moved to shut down TAFE Global's arrangement with Skillforce International which claimed "our China office has the ability to tap into this large labour market and source qualified workers".
It used the TAFE brand to sell the skills of a range of Chinese workers to Australian businesses "including, but not limited to, fitters, plant mechanics, metal fabricators, boilermakers, welders, structural steel tradespersons, sheet metal workers, shipwrights, boat builders, carpenters, plasterers, bricklayers, roof tilers, wall tilers, floor tilers, stonemasons, painters and decorators, floor finishers, mining personnel, drillers, maintenance technicians, mechanical fitters, butchers, boners, slaughtermen, bakers and pastry cooks."
In fact, Workers Online understands, Skillforce International is still marketing itself under the TAFE Global logo which bears a striking resemblance to the official TAFE NSW logo.
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