The AMWU has announced it will stand up for apprentices thrown out of Victoria’s RMIT University after the university-TAFE confirmed the end of 113 years of fitting and machining training due to more cutbacks by the Liberal-Coalition state government.
The decision will not only force up to 35 apprentices from across Melbourne to transfer to another TAFE college in the northern suburbs but will deprive students of the state’s only direct mechanical trades stream into advanced engineering courses, including degrees. AMWU reported.
AMWU Victorian State Secretary Steve Dargavel this week assured the aspiring fitters, machinists and boilermakers that the union supported their right to continue their training at the inner-Melbourne city campus and would work to get the “astounding” decision reversed.
Mr Dargavel believes the RMIT University’s course was unique in providing students a direct avenue from apprentice training in metals trades to mechanical engineering studies, which fitted well with the advanced industry research done at the university.
“It’s a black day for these young people and for manufacturing in Victoria when the Baillieu Government cutbacks force the axing of a course which has been recognised as the industry benchmark by all sides of politics for over 100 years. This hits the ambitions of apprentices who aspire to excellence, it shows Coalition governments have little respect for the future of manufacturing,” Mr Dargavel said.
The decision to discontinue the Engineering – Mechanical Trade Program was announced by the RMIT University’s School of Engineering TAFE division, another casualty of the $300 million and 2000 teaching jobs slashed from the wider TAFE sector by the Victorian Coalition government.
Mr Dargavel challenged Premier Ted Baillieu to have the decision reversed, after Victoria’s Opposition guaranteed it would re-instate the course if it won office.
“Last week we met 25 employers who raised concerns over the lack of quality vocational training, realising that an array of short-term courses from private providers cannot replace the proven TAFE system,” he said.