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Newsletter | 16 November 2015

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In this edition  


New VET data reveals policy failure on training and funding, TDA says

TDA says that new data on VET activity in Australia has exposed the full extent of the explosion of private training colleges and massive waste of VET FEE-HELP.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan said in a statement that the NCVER ‘Total VET students and courses 2014’ figures show that more than half of the $9.1 billion a year in federal funding has been allocated to providers without the scrutiny required in other Commonwealth programs.

“The data is welcome, but surely overdue when we see the unacceptable outcomes and billions of dollars wasted when policy decisions are made with insufficient data,” Mr Riordan said.

“Under this open market, private, for-profit providers have collectively exploded as an industry, with the data showing they now deliver to two-thirds of the VET student population.”

He said it raised serious questions about the financial disclosures that should be required of training providers in order to obtain access to public training funds and student loans.

See NCVER ‘Total VET students and courses 2014’.

See TDA’s response.

See ‘Rorts and policies fuel training college explosion’ in The Australian.

See ‘VET: An industry in crisis is an investor's worst bet’ in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

ASQA given a vote of confidence

Stakeholders in the vocational education and training (VET) sector have given the thumbs up to the national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for its work on deregulation, says the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Luke Hartsuyker.

The minister said a recent survey by ASQA shows that 74 per cent of stakeholders agreed or strongly agreed that regulatory reforms implemented in 2014 had reduced the burden on the sector.

“We have done that in the VET sector and the feedback received through this survey shows that training providers and industry stakeholders are reaping the benefits,” the minister said.

ASQA says that there is room for improvement, with just 43.9% of stakeholders positive about the way it acts on complaints about training providers.

See the Minister’s statement and the ASQA survey results.

New managing director for TAFE NSW

The NSW Minister for Skills John Barilaro has announced Jon Black, pictured, as the new Managing Director of TAFE NSW.

Mr Black previously served as Director-General for the Queensland Departments of Environment and Heritage Protection, and for Energy and Water Supply.

He had a 25-year career with the Australian Army, including as Executive Director for Training Management, and Commanding Officer at the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

“Jon arrives at a time when TAFE is modernising the way it delivers quality education and training in a rapidly changing competitive world,” Mr Barilaro said.

Mr Black replaces Pam Christie and will commence his new role on 7 December.

Loan debts to be recovered from students who go overseas

The federal government expects to recover up to $30 million a year following the passage of laws that will require people living overseas to repay their student or trade support loans.

Until now, people who took out a loan under the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) or a Trade Support Loan (TSL) and moved overseas were under no obligation to repay it.

The passage of the Overseas Debt Recovery Bill 2015 and the Student Loans (Overseas Debtors Repayment Levy) Bill 2015 will make it necessary for anyone earning above the $54,126 threshold to repay the loan, no matter where they live.

The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said up to $30 million was lost annually due to graduates moving overseas, with total losses as high as $800 million since the scheme started in 1989.

ASQA deputy chief commissioner to retire

Dr Dianne Orr, Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is to retire from her position next month.

Dr Orr, who is also ASQA’s Commissioner of Regulatory Operations, has been with the organisation since it was formally established in 2011.

“With more than 36 years in the Queensland and Commonwealth public service as a teacher, administrator and regulator in the VET system, Di is held in very high regard across Australia,” ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said.

Dr Orr previously held executive and senior policy positions in the Queensland Department of Education and Training and the Australian National Training Authority.

The Department of Education and Training will undertake the recruitment of another commissioner.

Senate inquiry to probe training college activities

The Senate has agreed to establish an inquiry into the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015 to examine measures proposed to protect students from unscrupulous training colleges.

It follows the government’s blocking of Labor amendments to establish a VET Ombudsman and to create a legislated student debt opt-in process to protect them from high pressure sales tactics.

“The Senate Inquiry will allow stakeholders to put forward their ideas on measures to weed out the shonks and sharks that are ripping off vulnerable students,” Shadow Vocational Education Minister Sharon Bird said.

Submissions are due by this Friday.

WorldSkills Australia seeking national judges

WorldSkills Australia is seeking judges for the 2016 WorldSkills Australia national competition to be held in Melbourne, 6 – 8 October next year.

National judges are a major part of the national competition and will work with chief and deputy chief judges and WorldSkills Australia’s National Operations Manager.
Successful applicants need to attend the national competition from 3 – 11 October.

See more.

Diary Dates

2015 Australian Training Awards
DATE: 19 November 2015
DETAILS: www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au

NCVER Research Forum
VET’s role in re-skilling displaced workers

DATE: 19 November 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Victoria
DETAILS: Find out more.

HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia)
The Shape of Higher Education

DATE: 4-7 July 2016
LOCATION: Fremantle
DETAILS: More information

Corporate Affiliates