TAFE NSW managing director Jon Black acknowledged during a visit to Gunnedah on Monday that mistakes had been made in the higher education system
“One thing we did was put in an enrolment system that doesn’t work,” Mr Black said.
“Teachers ended up spending more time involved in administration than teaching.”
But with a renewed focus and close partnership with communities like Gunnedah, he hoped to improve higher education and reverse the skills drain in regional centres.
The TAFE boss listened as representatives from Gunnedah business and industry expressed their universal frustration at the shortage of skills in the area.
Glenn Manny from Many Fabrications and Engineering said the problem is growing increasingly dire and required immediate attention.
“I can’t find any tradespeople,” he said. “It’s a big struggle.”
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said demand is very strong for fitters, boilermakers and electricians among other trades.
That demand is set to intensify as more mining projects look to the region for employment.
“We’re looking at about 1000 or more jobs locally,” Cr Chaffey said.
“We want Gunnedah to be the solution.”
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson highlighted the $700,000 upgrade to Gunnedah TAFE which was announced last year.
He said government “wanted to get it right” and provide real job training solutions to meet the demand.