KPMG were commissioned by the Victorian TAFE Association “to undertake an analysis of the contribution of TAFEs to Victoria’s prosperity.” They found that “Victorian TAFEs are uniquely placed to position their students to take advantage of substantial disruption being caused by technological and structural changes in the economy.”
The report presents a series of infographics and case studies, an overview of Victorian TAFE and examines both its social and economic impacts. It also considers the challenges and opportunities Victoria’s public providers face.
The value of Victorian TAFE
Victorian TAFE is made up of 12 stand-alone institutes and four dual sector universities, employing over 5,000 full-time equivalent teaching staff and a further 3,500 in non-teaching roles. KPMG concluded that in 2016 -17, these institutions contributed $2.9 billion to Victoria’s Gross State Product and “every $1 spent by Victorian TAFEs and dual sector universities supports $2.19 of value-added in the Victorian economy.”
The social contribution
KPMG’s report highlighted many social contributions, including providing opportunities for key student cohorts to access education and training. These cohorts include those from Indigenous or from rural and remote communities, as well as those with a disability or from low socio-economic backgrounds. They also said TAFE’s have long-standing relationships with local employers and communities and “a broad range of successful partnerships and linkages with industry which help drive innovation.” Finally, TAFEs help provide transition pathways to a range of further educational opportunities.
Other economic contributions
In economic terms KPMG found that regional TAFEs in particular are prominent members of their local communities. They also support local and emerging workforce needs. Victorian TAFEs attract international students to the state, which grows Victoria’s economy by increasing both exports through student fees and local spending by international students in local businesses and Victorian industries. KPMG found that:
“International TAFE students contributed an estimated $170 million to the Victorian economy.”
So what are the opportunities and challenges?
The opportunities KPMG identified are to build provision in areas identified by the Victorian Government. These include medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy technology, food and fibre, transport, defence and construction technology, and professional services. They believe that TAFE can build on its existing programs as well as exploring new and novel offerings. They also see an opportunity for TAFE to continue to contribute to Victoria through an applied research agenda which focuses on solving ‘real-world problems’ using its ties with industry. Finally, they believe TAFE can help Victorians to access the education and training they need to specialise, re-skill or change careers.
Victoria faces and number of challenges, including rapid industry transformation, ongoing skills shortages in key growth sectors, a growing need for workforce up-skilling and better access to skills for disadvantaged Victorians. TAFE, properly funded and resourced, can play a key role in helping the state address the challenges it faces.