FRANKSTON’S Chisholm TAFE Institute is on a financial sound footing compared to other further vocational education and training providers in Victoria.
A report by the Victorian Auditor-General released last week revealed the state’s TAFE sector suffered a $16.2 million net deficit in 2013 and many institutes are in financial strife in the wake of state government funding cuts.
Chisholm defied the state-wide trend by reporting a net surplus, before operating costs, of $30.6 million. In 2012 the Frankston TAFE reported a net surplus of $3.5 million before costs.
TAFEs collectively generated revenue of $1.08 billion, $89.4 million less than in 2012. Auditor-General John Doyle noted the fall was mainly due to a $102.9 million reduction in state government grants, partially offset by a $7.8 million increase in federal operating grants.
In his report, Mr Doyle praised Chisholm for its response to new funding circumstances. The Auditor-General said the Institute had implemented “effective cost control strategies”.
Chisholm CEO Maria Peters said the Institute had been proactive in making changes in 2012, when the Coalition state government, then headed by former premier Ted Baillieu, decided to slash about $300 million from TAFEs funding.
Ms Peters said the changes Chisholm had made in response to funding cuts had been “difficult” but “necessary”.
“We refocused the organisation… to ensure Chisholm’s long-term success. Through the hard work and dedication of our staff, we have been able to meet our training delivery and financial sustainability objectives.”
The Auditor-General noted five TAFEs, including the North Melbourne Institute of TAFE and Melbourne’s William Angliss Institute, were at severe risk of being financially unsustainable.
Chisholm’s financial sustainability risk assessment was upgraded from “medium” in 2012 to “low” in 2013.
Ms Peters said the Institute board’s expertise had steered Chisholm through a challenging time for the vocational education and training sector.
The TAFE sought to increase its industry ties last year, and created a number of new training partnerships. Ms Peters said Chisholm would diversify its revenue streams by seeking out strategic partnerships.
“We remain as committed as ever to delivering the best possible training and educational outcomes for our students, our industry clients and the wider community, especially in the south-east,” Ms Peters said.
“This will be the foundation for a strong and successful future.”
About 220 Chisholm Institute staff members were axed in late 2012 across six campuses and several courses were scrapped.
In his report, the Auditor-General said Chisholm was among TAFES “to be commended” for acting “early” to implement “changed course offerings, staff redundancies, campus rationalisation and [reduce] operating costs.”