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Newsletter | 11 April 2016

In this edition


New analysis shows private training colleges reaping Commonwealth money while TAFE delivers the jobs and skills

A TDA-commissioned analysis of official data reveals ‘for profit’ private training colleges have gained a massive 75% share of the $3 billion Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP funding, while TAFE delivers the key national skill qualifications.

The NCVER analysis is based on a full review across all major areas of data collection under the National Partnership Agreement on Skills, and when correlated with Commonwealth VET FEE HELP shows an extraordinary mismatch with the state and territory priorities for funding vocational education and training.

The report, ‘Trends in public and private VET provision: participation, financing and outcomes’ accessed NCVER’s own National VET Provider collection, supplemented by preliminary Total VET Activity (TVA) data for 2014, and included, for the first time, an analysis of the Commonwealth’s official VET FEE-HELP data.

Australia’s 57 TAFE Institutes emerge strongly in the report, dominating all major state and territory VET-funded ‘fields of education’ and trade apprenticeships.

The CEO of TDA, Martin Riordan said the analysis clearly demonstrates that despite the extraordinary growth of private colleges, TAFE is doing the heavy lifting in delivering high quality skills, qualifications and jobs.

“TAFE emerged as the dominant training provider, with superior completion and employment rates, even as private sector competition intensified,” Mr Riordan said.

Of total VET FEE-HELP payments of just over $3 billion from the program’s inception in 2009 up until 2014, almost 75% went to private providers and 25% to TAFE – with the TAFE share dropping to just 20% in 2014.

See TDA's media release and fact sheet.

See the NCVER report  ‘Trends in public and private VET provision: participation, financing and outcomes’ 

See 'TAFE still rules as private push fails' in The Australian.

ABC investigation reveals the tactics behind the student loan scandal  

Some of the key figures behind the private college VET FEE-HELP blow out have spoken publicly for the first time about the saga,.amid calls for a Royal Commission.

In a revealing series of interviews, ABC Radio National Background Briefing spoke to former and current college entrepreneurs and executives.

One CEO admitted it was cheaper to teach students who didn't turn up to class.

Journalist Paddy Manning also revealed that student enrolment forms were being sold in bulk online and that at one college, students would be brought in on weekends to prepare student records ahead of audits.

The ABC investigation found that $2 billion in Commonwealth VET-FEE HELP payments went to just eight providers.

Former federal  treasurer and non-executive director of the failed private college, Vocation, John Dawkins denied he ever faced a conflict of interest as a consequence of his role on a key industry regulatory body.

The author of the recent Victorian government VET review, Bruce Mackenzie, spoke of his experience across TAFE and briefly as a director of a private college, and told the program that a Royal Commission should be held into the worsening crisis.

See 'The education free for all' on ABC Radio National.

Tougher probity measures looming as Minister admits a third of student loan money 'wasted' 

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Senator Senator Scott Ryan has conceded that approximately a third of Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP money was probably wasted, due to poor student outcomes.

The total cost of the program was $3 billion up to 2014 and Minister Ryan told the group training conference in Adelaide on Thursday the 2015 cost was likely to be between $2-$3 billion.

Asked on ABC Radio National Drive about the amount of VET FEE-HELP funds "wasted", Senator Ryan said it could be "up to a third".

"If my memory serves me correct that was late last year, in money that had not been spent as appropriately – I think is the best way to describe it – because a lot of students signed up and dropped out, some completion rates are 6 or 7 per cent, that means the money wasn't illegally sought, it just means that students were not fully engaged in their education."

The Minister also foreshadowed "a couple of very serious probity measures" that will be announced in a matter of weeks which, he said, "will send a very strong signal".

TAFE chairs and management announced in Western Australia

The West Australian government has announced the new TAFE college governing councils and interim managing directors appointed to oversee the state's training sector.

Under the changes, 70 campuses will be managed by five TAFE colleges.

Deputy Premier and Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said streamlining the administrative functions of the TAFE colleges would create a more effective and sustainable training system.

"Lecturing positions will be unaffected by the new structure, and enrolled students will have no change to their training as the current campuses will not change either in their location or course delivery," she said.

Chairs of the new governing councils and interim managing directors for each TAFE college are:

South Metropolitan TAFE
Elizabeth Carr (Governing Council chairwoman)
Terry Durant (interim managing director)

North Metropolitan TAFE
Emeritus Professor William (Bill) Louden (Governing Council chairman)
Michelle Hoad (interim managing director)

South Regional TAFE
Professor Bryant Stokes (Governing Council chairman)
Duncan Anderson (interim managing director)

Central Regional TAFE
Mary Woodford (Governing Council chairwoman)
Bill Swetman (interim managing director)

North Regional TAFE
Ian Smith (Governing Council chairman)
Kevin Doig (interim managing director)

Minister continues VET FEE-HELP consultations

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Senator Scott Ryan will this week continue consultations on the 2017 redesign of VET FEE-HELP with sessions in Melbourne on 11th April, Sydney 12th, Brisbane 13th and Cairns 14th.

The minister is personally presenting and facilitating these sessions seeking to gain views of training providers and industry stakeholders that will inform a discussion paper to be released early May.

See more information.

$11 million in funding for GOTAFE, Chisholm and Bendigo Kangan institutes

The Victorian government has announced $11 million in funding for TAFE Institutes as part of the $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund.

A total of $5.3 million in funding has been provided to GOTAFE to help support disadvantaged Shepparton locals to access training. GOTAFE is expected to expand its literacy and numeracy program from just 150 students to around 4000 students.

Chisholm Institute has been allocated $3.5 million for a number of student programs including its Learner Success Program which assists culturally and linguistically diverse students as well as early school leavers.

Meanwhile, Bendigo Kangan Institute will receive $2.8 million in Community Service funding to support disadvantaged Bendigo residents’ access to training such as the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and the Young Mothers Program. 

Expression of interest sought for WFCP excellence awards

TAFE Institutes may be interested in lodging nominations for the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2016 Awards of Excellence.

Recipients will be recognised at the 2016 World Congress to be held in Vitória, Brazil from September 23 – 25.

Nominations can be lodged through TDA and may be of interest to institutes that have received Australian Training Awards, or industry sector awards.

See more.

Indian professors trial Sydney TAFE's training course

Sydney TAFE has delivered a  pilot  of the International TVET Trainer and TVET Assessor course to 19 senior professors from the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) in Mumbai.

The International TVET Trainer and TVET Assessor course is part of a set of internationally relevant courses developed by the Australian government, in negotiation with the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) in India and Australian registered training organisations, to help meet the global demand for skilled trainers and assessors. 

The courses provided the participants from MSBTE with practical skills in competency based teaching and assessing methodologies. All participants commented that they felt the training was beneficial to their Institute.

Upon completion of the program evaluation, negotiations will continue for further industry specific training and the delivery of the TVET Advanced Trainer and Assessor in both Mumbai and in Delhi.

Advertising deadline approaching for TAFE Futures magazine

The booking deadline for advertising in TDA's new magazine, TAFE Futures, is 29 April.

This edition will be published in June and will feature news, interviews and all the latest developments across vocational and higher education.

Should you wish to discuss an advertising opportunity, please contact Jane Yeaman or Sarah Robinson on email: TDA@pco.com.au or 02 8880 7608.

See the TAFE Futures 2016 Media Kit.

See the first edition or  subscribe to TAFE Futures.

Mobile app to support apprentices and trainees

Apprentices and trainees in NSW can now get advice and support at their fingertips, thanks to a new mobile app.

The Minister for Skills John Barilaro said the Apprentice and Trainee Logbook App for Students (ATLAS) will assist students by providing phone or message support on a range of issues during their training.

“Whether it’s health issues, travel entitlements, workplace bullying or access to fair wages, ATLAS will direct students to the most relevant source for fast and reliable assistance.

“ATLAS will also act as an electronic logbook where students, supervisors and employers can monitor working hours and training progression, eliminating the need for a paper logbook," he said.

ATLAS is available for free download here.

25th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’

Registration is open for the 25th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’, 4 – 6 July 2016, CQUniversity, Rockhampton North campus. The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is delighted to co-host this year's conference with CQUniversity.

The engaging program is now available, featuring over 40 presentation and poster sessions, highlighting three research themes:

  • Equity: supporting diversity through promoting inclusive training opportunities for all Australians
  • Engagement: students, providers, employers and government working together to improve access, participation and outcomes from training
  • Evolution: developing a skilled and flexible workforce to adapt to rapid technological change in the workplace, and to improve national competitiveness. 

Register online now to secure your place.

Diary Dates

AVETRA 19th Annual Conference 
20 – 22 April 2016

More information

WAVE National Conference
Women: Education, Empowerment, Equality. A New Agenda?
20 April 2016
Northern Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW
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EduTECH 2016
30 - 31 May, 2016

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2016 Skills Conference
Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
15 June, 2016
More information

25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
4 – 6 July 2016
Rockhampton, Queensland

More information

VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
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Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
18 - 19 August, 2016
More information coming soon.

NSW TAFE Managers Association
19 August, 2016
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
More information coming soon.

National Skills Week 2016
29 August – 4 September, 2016
More Information

VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September, 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
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National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
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TDA Convention
4 - 6 October, 2016
More information coming soon

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October, 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
More information

2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
More information
Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information
Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9-12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
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ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss institute, Melbourne
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Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
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