TAFE students can expect to pay up to 150 per cent more for courses next year, putting qualifications out of reach for many.
That is the opinion of former student Katherine Teideman who has a qualification in aged care but is struggling to find full-time work in the industry due to the high demand.
TAFE used to be more accessible for people than university but with the price rises, it is just as bad she says.
“It’s really hard to find work, I applied everywhere ... I went in to TAFE to look at going into early childhood instead but it will double next year and I can’t afford it,” she said.
A certificate three in early childhood has gone from $419 per semester to $1590.
In 2014 a certificate three in aged care cost $838, in 2015 it will cost $1440 and Ms Teideman, who completed her qualifications in 2012, said there would be no way she would have been able to afford to study it next year.
NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said the Smart and Skilled reforms which affect the price of TAFE courses next year were designed to ensure those who most needed skills could find employment.
“From 2015, students will pay a set fee per qualification rather than per year. This is fairer as students will know exactly what their costs will be regardless of how long they take to complete their qualification,” Mr Piccoli said.
He said fees in NSW would be lower than in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
TAFE Western Institute director Kate Baxter said she would encourage anyone interested in undertaking training with TAFE Western to come into the college and “have a chat” with staff about individual eligibility requirements.
Discounts are available for students who had prior qualifications, are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, have a disability, receive government benefits or who live in a rural setting.
Greens MLC Dr John Kaye has been travelling around the state talking with students and teachers about the changes.
“Students are only just beginning to understand how significant the changes are ... 40 per cent of students will see a substantial increase in what they’re paying for the same courses.”
For information go to www.training.nsw.gov.au