At the recent Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE) Conference, Professor Erica Smith posed the question: Do women have to be Rosie the Riveter to get access to training? Rosie the Riveter appeared in an iconic 1940’s propaganda poster, representing women who worked in US factories and shipyards, while the male workforce served in World War II. Rosie has since become a feminist icon, denoting women’s strength, independence and capacity to break down barriers.
New voices are emerging in the national debate about the direction of VET and the future of TAFE, and these voices provide some hope for those people who have been concerned over the last four to five years about the simplistic arguments used by the supporters of “market design”.
Australia, like many Western education systems, places a strong emphasis on completing school and gaining skills for the workplace.
In the current debate around vocational education and amidst the growing concern about the activities of the private sector, a proposal to extend VET FEE-HELP to lower level VET qualifications has emerged.
TAFE is a beacon of hope and opportunity for the client base of the National Welfare Rights Network. The attempted dismantling of TAFE by conservative governments must be resisted if we are to maintain a society which is founded on equality and opportunity.