Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Exercise in frustration

Wow two posts in one day, I'm on a roll. But given that everyone else who is in the house with me right now is currently having their morning nap and the washing machine only stopped 20 minutes ago, I have a little while before my load of washing starts to smell, what better way to spend it than writing another post. Anything for you my wonderful readers.

I mentioned the other day that I am trying to enrol in a bookkeeping course in an attempt to update my skills and make myself more employable when the inevitable day comes that I have to go back to work. (The government says this will be once Miss K turns 6.) However it is turning out to be a lot harder than I thought. I know that May is possibly the weirdest time to decide to enrol into school given that the first half of the year is almost over, but I was prompted by the announcement that the government is about to pull it's support from the tertiary education system, and after June 30 this year there will be no subsidies for further education. It is trivial things like this that really help get a person motivated.

So I contacted my local TAFE and was told I could enrol to do my course of choice online which suits me perfectly as it means I can get an education and raise Miss K at the same time. I had the lovely woman on the telephone email me through the enrolment forms (It took me two tries to get them, as I suspect she put the phone down and then forgot about me, so I had to email her and remind her that I existed and I want an education.) Unfortunately the enrolment forms gave no indication as to how much money I was going to have to pump into my plans, nor did it tell me how to go about getting a student loan. This prompted a second phone call and a three day wait for a response from her (Why are TAFE teachers so hard to get on the phone?) The second time we spoke she was less optimistic about my prospects. This time I was told I was probably better off waiting until the start of next year and enrolling at the same time as everyone else as they were already 3 units in and I had a lot of catching up to do. (They appeared to have completed an entire unit in one week, as when we spoke the previous Monday they had completed 2 units, and she didn't think I'd have a problem catching up) Now I am no stranger to hard work, having worked in 2 law firms, and a slew of other government departments, and I reassured her that the units they had completed were all full of stuff I have spent the last 10 years doing for a wage, however she remained unconvinced and advised me she'd have to speak to somebody else in the department before making a final decision whether to accept my enrolment form. I am currently waiting for an email from her with the department's final decision about when I can enrol for my course.

Of course this isn't what really bugs me the most about trying to enrol. What gets me is the cost. Even with government subsidies, this online course is going to cost me over $1,300.00 for the course itself, and a further $600 for books and materials. (That fee I don't understand because I was under the impression that an online course meant the books and materials would be electronic, and I've looked at the cost of E-Books, they don't cost $600.) There is a massive push at the moment in Australia to get stay at home mums back in the workforce as soon as possible. (I'm not entirely convinced they wouldn't force everyone back to work as soon as the doctor sews you up if they could.) The problem with this is unless you have a degree before you go off and have your children (something I don't have) then you will wind up in a low paying job that wouldn't even cover the cost of daycare. Of course you could spend your down time as a stay at home mum brushing up on your skills and getting a degree if you can afford to go to school and put your children in daycare. (Of course you'd have to spend the rest of your time working the drive through at McDonalds just to be able to afford your week's supply of tinned spaghetti so you and your child don't starve.) The government wants its citizens to be skilled workers and have degrees and lots of wonderful letters after their names, but they don't make getting these degrees and letters easy. University courses cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, and TAFE fees aren't much better. It's a catch 22 that they have created and refuse to fix. And that people is what grinds my gears.

So for now I sit here in anticipation, waiting for the email that decides the next few years of my life. Whatever the decision is I will accept as I don't really have any other choice, but to be on the safe side I'm going to start stocking up on tinned spaghetti now in anticipation.
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