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An insider tells how Vic TAFE got rolled and the damage it’s done

In Education, Geraldine Toner on January 17, 2013 at 6:40 AM

By Geraldine Toner
17th January 2013

Geraldine Toner

Geraldine Toner

MARGO: @Fluffula tweeted that if she had a blog she’d write the truth about TAFE policy, so TurnLeft and AFHP offered her a spot.I feel that citizen journalists should, like other journalists, put their name to their words, and she has had the courage to do so.

So here is the debut citizen journalist piece by Geraldine Toner. She worked in the Victorian Public Service from 1992 to 2011 as an IT Project manager, mainly in labour market & training programs to help the disadvantaged into employment. From 2004 she worked in Government Funded Training Programs that managed the TAFEs and Private Registered Training Organisations and then  managed the development and implementation of the original application used to introduce the contestability model, then called ‘Skills Reform’. In 2010 she worked at Swinburne University in a contract position and officially left the Victorian Public Sector in December 2011. The TAFE issue is fraught around Australia, so feel free to comment here.


I am writing this piece in frustration at the public narrative of the Victorian Government’s Vocational Education & Training (VET) contestability policy that has TAFE lose more than $300m in funding. I am primarily motivated by a comment made by a current Victorian Public Sector employee working in the area who said to me contestability is great but the TAFEs were too slow to react to market changes and only have themselves to blame.  I don’t see it that way and here’s why.

I worked in the State Government area that funds and manages VET delivery for 5 years, and I also worked briefly in a TAFE/University. In my 18 year public sector career I worked in labour market/training programs and have seen a gamut of policies and programs come and go. Read the rest of this entry »