NSW vocational education gets re-org to revive its comatose budget

Skills minister gets another bright idea

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Its budget gutted, in part, by dogged devotion to a failed software project, the Australian State of New South Wales Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions are to be reorganised to eliminate its current structure of individual regional institutes.

Instead, in a strategy conceived by the same minister as paid Boston Consulting for 2016's Most Dodgy Consultant's Report, TAFE administration is to be centralised in Sydney.

Skills minister John Barilaro made the announcement in Western Sydney this morning (July 13), saying the action would mean the local institutes would no longer duplicate each others' administration, which someone – please let it not be Boston Consulting – told him soaks up between 40 and 60 cents in their dollar.

The minister told a gathering that the savings would be redirected towards having more teachers in the organisation, which has to be a good thing.

Barilaro added that TAFE will create 12 regional connected learning centres, with a Digital Education headquarters being set up somewhere in “regional NSW” (there's rather a lot of this, given the state is larger than Texas).

TAFE is important to the technology sector because it delivers lots of affordable training, much of it in the products of key enterprise vendors. But the sector has had a rotten time of things late, experiencing a rolling train-wreck that was its piece of the Department of Education's Learning and Business Management Reform SAP-software rollout, because it was a money-pit. This, however, hasn't resurrected its finances - particularly since the organisation has been unable to bill all of its students.

Earlier this year Barilaro told the country TAFE was inefficient by comparison with private colleges on the basis of a Boston Consulting report.

After originally lauding the efficiency of the now-defunct Australian Careers Network, the company has now told Fairfax – this is canon, no matter how unbelievable it sounds – that “'in hindsight' the company was aware in March that ACN was in financial trouble.”

Boston has blocked the FOI requesting release of the report, but Fairfax reckons it set the government back $AU90,000. ®


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