I guess they are not Leftist enough. To attack the most practical part of Australian education is madness
Australian Technical Colleges have urged the Rudd Government to rethink plans to abolish their funding, arguing the states have shown little interest in supporting an apprenticeship program devised by the former Howard government. The colleges claim their model of delivering apprenticeship training to students is more efficient than the federal Government's replacement scheme in which secondary schools can apply for funding to offer their own training centres.
"Our preference would be to remain funded at a commonwealth level because the state response has been less than desired," Nigel Hill, chairman of the Australian Technical College Association told The Australian.
At a time when 40 per cent of first-year trade apprentices are dropping out and exacerbating skills shortages, the Rudd Government has allocated $2.5billion over 10 years for schools to establish trade training centres. The Government is also spending $1.9billion over five years to provide 630,000 new training places, including 85,000 apprenticeships.
But Mr Hill believes the approach of the colleges in attracting students while they are still in school and having them work closely with industry is the key to improving retention rates. An example is the ATC at Sunshine in Melbourne's west, whose chairman Barry McCarthy is also the manager of car giant Toyota's training and development planning centre. Enrolments at Sunshine have this year doubled to 120. "We think this is a good model going forward, but we need to ensure that industry connection," he said.
About 3000 school students are enrolled in the technical colleges, federal funding for which will cease at the end of 2009. The Government is working to integrate the colleges on a case-by-case basis into the existing training education system, which is largely a state responsibility.
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