Staff at Whitireia and Weltec are making a stand for a quality vocationaleducation system that places communities at its centre. The TEU maintainsthis can only be achieved if there is a strong plan that involves students,staff, and community.Staff at the two Wellington based institutions began their campaign earlierthis week with a petition demanding that the Chief Executive use theknowledge and creativity of all staff. Their actions come as the leadershipof the institutions announces reviews which will see job cuts inengineering and student services.TEU National President, Michael Gilchrist, says with the review ofvocational education underway, the actions of the senior leadership atWhitireia and Weltec is premature.“We need to be putting our energies into getting right the long-termfunding model and structures which will ensure quality vocational educationin all communities. The Minister of Education can help by providingtransition funding and a long awaited review of the funding model, a modelthat Chris Hipkins agrees is broken”.Gilchrist says institutional leaders can help plan for the future byworking with students, staff, and communities rather than slashing jobs.“Cutting expenditure by over 15%, including cuts in student supportservices won’t help students or the institutions. Slashing courses inengineering makes no sense when the government is looking at makingpolytechnics responsible for in-work training and apprentices. With theReform of Vocational Education being reported back in a few months, itseems reckless to cut services now that will be needed in the future”.As well as the petition, staff and students will be working to highlighthow crucial support services are to learning and well-being.James Ranstead, NZUSA President, says that both the government andinstitutional leaders need to understand that support services are a right,not a ‘nice-to-have’. “Our report into mental health and conversations withstudents daily indicate just how crucial support services are”.“It’s only by working together – staff, students, institutional leaders,and government – that we’ll ensure students have quality education in theplaces they live”, says Gilchrist.