RMIT axes manufacturing course

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has slammed a decision by RMIT University to axe a TAFE course aimed at training apprentices for the manufacturing industry.

RMIT head of engineering Peter Ryan said the course was “unviable” with only 20 people enrolled, and the university was negotiating with other institutions to take on the students.

AMWU state secretary Steve Dargavel told Fairfax Media the decision would contribute to the skills drain in the manufacturing sector.

“We don’t have a skills shortage so much as a training shortage,'' he said.

''If you don't have fitters and turners you don't have manufacturing.''

Dargavel said around 22 people were enrolled in the course in first year and the cut would impact more students at different year levels.

He also said work was still available in the manufacturing sector, and the RMIT course had helped produce workers that were crucial to the industry.

While Dargavel blamed government funding cuts for the decision, a spokesperson for Victorian skills minister Peter Hall told Fairfax Media funding for the course had increased 14 per cent and a move to axe the course was a decision to be made by the university.