FEES will double and teaching jobs be lost under radical new plans to keep Holmesglen TAFE operating amid deep funding cuts.
Secret cabinet documents have finally revealed the extent of the cuts aimed at reducing costs.
Holmesglen will make 65 full-time teaching jobs redundant this year. About 20 jobs have already been cut and the rest will go by the end of the year. Another 25 contract and sessional teachers are expected be left out in the cold, as will 24 administrative and support staff.
Several popular courses could also face the chop, including advertising, professional writing, ceramics and legal practice, while fees will be raised on courses such as hospitality and business. The Victorian Certificate of Education will also no longer be offered.
In an effort to rein in costs, the Baillieu government earlier this year slashed $300 million in funding to TAFEs.
Holmesglen chief executive Bruce Mackenzie said the TAFE provider had been blindsided by the state government's cuts.
"I think it's not an unreasonable thing to say that if you're going to cut your support by a third — and you're talking about large amounts of money — that you have some consultation and communication in advance. You don't just go whack and just try and walk away from it. And that's what's caused such outrage in the community," he said.
Victorian branch secretary of the Australian Education Union, Mary Bluett, slammed the state government for "the devastation it has caused at TAFE institutes across Victoria".
"The Victorian public understands that the Baillieu government's budget cuts are not in the interests of young people, the community, TAFE institutes or the Victorian economy," Ms Bluett said. "The Baillieu government must be accountable to the TAFE's 365,000 students who, as a result of their decisions, will now have limited educational opportunities, with many expected to drop out altogether as a result of significant fee increases."
About 50,000 students go through Holmesglen every year.
National Tertiary Education Union secretary Colin Long accused the state government of "abandoning" young people.
"With these further cuts, campus closures and sell-offs, tens of thousands of young people now have their lifeline to skills, jobs and better futures abruptly severed," Dr Long said.
Holmesglen has already expressed interest in buying out its ownership from the state government, a move that would give it autonomy to work outside public service constraints and compete against private and international providers. It's also shown interest in buying Swinburne University's Prahran campus to which it would move its city campus.
In 2011, Holmesglen received about $90 million funding from the government. Next year, it will only receive $60 million.
Mr Mackenzie said: "Every part of the institute is making a contribution to trying to fill that $30 million hole. Everybody is contributing to make sure that the students don't get hit with massive fee increases.
"The institute board is making a dividend payment to support the educational programs.
"The Holmesglen foundation is making a dividend payment to support the operations.
"We earn another $90 million from entrepreneurial activities. We normally give the management team and the faculty staff a percentage of that money to use for staff development. They won't be getting that. That money will be going in to support the students and the education programs."
Despite the hardships faced by Holmesglen, Mr Mackenzie told the Weekly that no campuses would be shut down. "Holmesglen will survive because we've never relied entirely on government funding for our operation. It was half, it's now going to be about a third."
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