Teachers from Maitland TAFE along with others from several institutions across the region have received letters indicating they might be impacted by voluntary redundancy.
Thirty-five teachers and staff have been made aware they could be affected by the staff reductions and course downsizing.
Under the proposed changes, Maitland would lose its tourism and hospitality courses, but no concrete decisions have been made about staff or course cutbacks.
NSW Teachers Federation TAFE spokesman Rob Long said the full impact for Maitland could not be known at this stage.
“The staff haven’t been offered voluntary redundancy yet but Hunter TAFE has identified potential staff that might be impacted,” Mr Long said.
“We have a meeting at Maitland tomorrow to discuss the potential impacts further.
“At the moment they’re looking at shutting tourism and hospitality at Maitland and they’re talking about rebranding Maitland as a satellite college.
“It’s not clear what that means at the moment.”
Mr Long said the cuts were a result of the NSW government’s decision to privatise TAFE, with students and teachers potentially affected.
“This is all driven by the state government’s policy of privatising TAFE,” Mr Long said.
“Seventeen people were made redundant across the Hunter in the first half of this year and now another 35 teachers and staff across the institute are going to be affected.
“The real problem is going to be for the students who have to stop doing courses. Students with accessibility problems and no private transport will be the ones [who] really suffer.”
Hunter TAFE institute director Phil Cox said the organisation needed to adapt if it were to thrive under the reforms.
“As Hunter TAFE moves forward, continuing to meet changing market demands, we must give priority to skills shortage areas,” Mr Cox said.
“The result is that staff delivering in areas of declining demand have far fewer students to teach.
“Since late last year we have openly spoken about changes in the sector that would come as part of the NSW government’s Smart and Skilled reforms to Vocational Education and Training.
“This will require Hunter TAFE to rationalise and consolidate programs on an ongoing basis to ensure our sustainability in the new competitive environment.”
Last night Education Minister Adrian Piccoli confirmed the government would proceed with a plan to cut 1800 jobs across schools and TAFE despite signing up to the Commonwealth Better Schools Plan.
Mr Piccoli admitted to breaking a key election promise of providing 900 numeracy and literacy teachers over the next five years, instead confirming a further 294 jobs would be lost by the end of 2013 on top of the 459 jobs lost across schools and TAFE so far this year.