National TAFE Day

TAFE – the learning community

I’ve never heard a student thank the VET market for their success at TAFE. I’ve never heard a student attribute their new skills to the latest technical change in a training package. I’ve never heard a student point to competition as the source of quality teaching.

I’ve heard plenty of times that it was the teacher at TAFE who got them started on their learning journey through a welcoming word. I’ve heard many a story of TAFE teachers encouraging the student to complete their course. I’ve heard students point to their teacher for inspiring them to achieve more than they could have dreamt.

Times of crisis have us looking deeply at the things that matter. The health and well-being of family. The strength of our friendships. The extra ounce of kindness and compassion for strangers. These intangibles unite in making strong families, neighbourhoods and community.

The virus has caused us to value in new ways workers we’ve often taken for granted. Front-line staff in our health system across all roles. Workers who society considers are delivering the mundane are part of the powerful joint effort in holding the virus at bay.

These times should cause us to rethink our TAFE system. A vital cog that keeps industry going. An institution geared to student success. A lighthouse that signals to the community the path of learning to success in life. The things that matter.

The TAFE teacher makes this work. The ‘invisible’ commitment to public service – for public good for community – that makes the learning community tangible.

TAFE cannot be broken down into marketable transactions, sold to the cheapest bidder. Competition as conceived in VET in Australia drags down quality.

The public service of TAFE and TAFE teachers is made tangible for students, employers and community. TAFE is the lighthouse needed at this time pointing to a better future for all caught in the grips of the virus.

Craig Robertson
TAFE Directors Australia