Community Education Gravy Train Steams On
Hon Bill English
National Education Spokesman
7 September 2004
Community education gravy train steams on
"The construction industry and supermarkets are the latest benefactors of the community education gravy train," says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.
The construction industry is attracting tertiary education funding for four-hour building site induction courses.
Supermarkets also run induction courses funded out of the tertiary education dollar.
"These courses should be paid for by the industries themselves, as they always have been, not by money designated for tertiary education," says Mr English.
Workers or their employees are charged between $40 and $120 each to cover the course costs while Unitec and Site Safe pocket the government EFTS subsidy.
The construction industry previously ran a two-hour induction course in association with Unitec. This was extended to four hours, enabling Unitec to claim EFTS funding.
"So they made the course compulsory and have the cheek to charge a $40 penalty to anyone not wanting to do the course or who fills the form out incorrectly.
"Unitec contributes nothing to the running of these courses - no tutors, no materials and no qualification at the end of it. But they manage to walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The scheme is attractive to industry because the free training allows them to fulfill their OSH obligations," says Mr English.
Answers to written questions show that more than 50 000 people have enrolled in these courses.
"TEC has loopholes big enough to drive a train through, Steve Maharey has got to clean the commission up and put a stop to this sort of scam," says Mr English.