Distressed students walked out of the Beaconsfield Tafe campus in disgust Thursday having learned course fees had increased up to 390 per cent.
The cost of a six-month community service course rose astronomically, from $500 last year to $2500.
Some shocked hopefuls were so crushed by the fees they left without enrolling.
Bibra Lake’s Tess Wilkinson was furious to learn her course fees had doubled.
“Being a single mother of four, trying to further myself, I now have to get a night job to pay for it,” she angrily told the Herald. “It’s not just me either, it’s affecting my kids: I can’t afford for my 17-year-old son to go to TAFE now, he will have to go and get an apprenticeship. I am extremely pissed off, the ones that are having to pay more are people like me who can’t afford it.
“It’s wrong and my son should have all the opportunities in the world at his feet and he doesn’t.”
Teachers’ union representatives met with students Thursday out the front of the Grosvenor Street campus to discuss the fee rise impacts and encourage campaign action.
“A common issue was how they will have to find extra work to make the payments,” said SSTUWA president Pat Byrne.
“From a Tafe lecturers’ point of view that’s devastating because the students are already pressured enough. If someone’s worked all night, they won’t be able to focus during the day in class.”
WA Labor training shadow Fran Logan says the Barnett government is effectively making Tafe students pay for its chronic overspending.
“Tafe is the lifeblood of our skills base and the service sector, and the state government is creating a disincentive to these careers,” Mr Logan says.
Tafe enrolments are expected to dive which has unions predicting a future skills shortage.
by CLARE KENYON