Thursday, June 13, 2024

College Closure

Horticulture courses previously offered by Swinburne TAFE at no cost to students under Victoria’s priority TAFE courses program, will be shut down. Existing students will be either transferred to other providers or may be able to carry on until the course is complete. Representatives of Swinburne have been quoted as saying that the horticultural programs have incurred substantial losses of close to $4 million dollars over the last five years.

Closing TAFE horticulture programs at Swinburne could limit opportunities of young people wishing to work in horticulture. Swinburne TAFE offered courses that had streams for nurseries, parks and gardens, and landscape construction. Horticulture is Australia’s third largest agricultural sector, employing around 240,000 people, and most growers are family-owned businesses.

There is an argument that training for young people with limited earning ability should be subsidised by the community. The value of courses offering a gateway to a rewarding vocation cannot be measured in up-front dollars. Entry-level jobs in horticulture are not usually the highest paid jobs, but most see beyond the first few years and wish to work in a vocation they can enjoy and be passionate about.

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