Present Tense

IEU working with Navitas staff

The Federal Government provides many educational support services for migrants and disadvantaged Australians, and primary among these are the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and the Skills for Education & Employment (SEE) Program. These programs have been put out to tender since the late 1990s, and the most recent of these (to commence from 1 July) was announced on 18 April.

The big winner of the new tenders is TAFE NSW, which has picked up the lion’s share of AMEP regions. In some ways, this is a ‘back to the future’ outcome, as successive governments have sought to move these programs away from TAFE and AMES in the past, only for them to go back in the coming round.

One current provider (with over 130 IEU members) is Navitas English, which has provided services at a dozen centres across NSW. NE have lost out badly under the new arrangements, retaining only the south west Sydney (taking in the area between Fairfield and Campbelltown), Hunter, Illawarra/ South Coast, and Capital (taking in Canberra and southern NSW) regions.

The effect on IEU members at Navitas is not yet entirely certain, but it is clear that there will be a great reduction in staffing required at Navitas going forward, with many existing positions to be made redundant. Your Union has been liaising with Navitas, and will ensure that the best possible outcomes are achieved for members, in what will be difficult circumstances. Officers from your Union will have been meeting with Navitas, and visits to all of the current Navitas centres to meet with members are scheduled for the first half of May.

Something that members should be aware of are their entitlements. Any ongoing employees made redundant will be entitled to redundancy pay in line with the redundancy scale in the enterprise agreement (or NES, if there is no agreement in place). In addition, employees on both ongoing and fixed term contracts are entitled to be paid out for any unused accrued annual leave. Finally, all employees with more than five years of continuous service, including casuals, should be paid out for accrued long service leave (on the basis of 8.667 weeks, or two months, for 10 years of service).

With the SEE, Navitas were more successful, retaining all of their current regions, as were MTC, another private provider. TAFE NSW and Max Solutions have won most of the rural contracts, with Nortec Training Solutions picking up contracts in northern NSW. Mission Australia won fewer contracts in this program than they anticipated, and they have announced that they will vacate the field entirely.

There are concerns here too, however, as the government has announced a funding cut of 25% to the SEE program, and so providers will be forced to provide the same product with fewer resources. This will undoubtedly also lead to some job losses among providers of this program (something already flagged by MTC).

If any members in any affected college have any concerns or require any assistance, they should contact their Union on 8202 8900 or

Keith Heggart