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Newsletter | 18 July 2016

In this edition


More claims against private training colleges

A federal court judge has criticised the VET FEE-HELP scheme while hearing a case by the ACCC against Unique International College in Sydney.

Justice Nye Perram is presiding in a case by the ACCC to recover $47 million in VET FEE-HELP funding from Unique International College. Unique is defending the case.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, Justice Perryman said "It is hard to avoid, whoever put this scheme together did not think it through very much."

Meanwhile,the ABC's 7.30 reported allegations that Careers Australia was enrolling vulnerable students into expensive courses over the phone, in breach of undertakings made to the ACCC.

A former employee, Peter Jensen, claimed the college was engaged in dubious sales techniques from operators in a high pressure call centre.

"There's leader boards, bells are ringing, gongs are banging. There was a gong all the time, every time somebody got a sale," Mr Jensen said.

Careers Australia denied the allegations.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) says it is currently scrutinising 18 RTOs approved for VET FEE-HELP and is sharing intelligence and coordinating regulatory activity with the ACCC and the Department of Education and Training.

TAFE NSW embarks on once-in-a-generation restructure

The NSW government has embarked on the biggest reform to TAFE in more than 20 years, with a plan to bring ten institutes under a single structure, renegotiate industrial agreements and dispose of assets.

The One TAFE model was announced by the Minister for Skills John Barilaro, who said it would reduce overheads and direct more resources to frontline teaching.

A Vision for TAFE NSW report, released by the minister, sets out the proposed structure and aims of the reform.

It says that there are many instances where TAFE NSW "is bound by inflexible, old fashioned classroom delivery models that no longer match industry or student needs."

"Compared to TAFE institutes in other States, NSW has the highest unit cost of assets per annual hour of delivery," it says.

TAFE will negotiate new industrial agreements that achieve increased productivity and new, more flexible roles.

The report says TAFE has nearly 2,000 buildings across 129 campuses, and that at least 20% of assets exceed requirements. Proceeds from asset sales will be reinvested in TAFE.

A new digital headquarters will bring together the 11 online platforms currently used by TAFE, with a focus on regional delivery.

"The transfer of TAFE NSW away from the Education cluster and into the Industry cluster reflects the NSW Government’s vision for TAFE NSW to become more aligned with industry and most importantly, jobs," the report says.

TAFE heads plan to tackle funding stalemate

TAFE institute chairs and directors are gearing up to tackle a funding impasse once the incoming federal government is finalised.

As reported in The Australian, TAFE chairmen and institute directors plan to descend on Canberra to press for the continuation of a crucial federal funding stream that is due to expire in the middle of next year.

TAFE Queensland board chairman Warren Tapp said the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, which has injected about $1.7 billion into VET since 2012, is due to expire next June, and would cost the sector $516 million next financial year.

While the major parties made some VET commitments during the election, there was no mention of the NPA, he said.

“They’ve got the information now. What else do they need to finally make some decisions and give us some clear answers? Will there be an NPA or not, and how much is in the piggy bank if there is? Or are they going to repackage it under some other form?"

Queensland government releases skills funding plan

The Queensland government will invest $811 million in skills and training, an increase of $56 million, as outlined in its 2016–17 Annual VET Investment Plan.

Releasing the latest plan, the Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath said public providers including TAFE Queensland would receive $166 million in grants.

Mrs D’Ath said the government had continued to invest heavily in apprenticeships and traineeships, certificate III level qualifications and higher level qualifications this year.

“We will invest a combined $585 million in the User Choice, Certificate 3 Guarantee and Higher Level Skills programs this financial year,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Bogus qualification attracts heavy penalty

A former trainer has been ordered to pay $120,000 for providing bogus vocational education and training (VET) qualifications to her employer, a co-worker, and to the regulator.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) successfully obtained declarations from the federal court that the Sydney woman fabricated the qualifications.

Between 2012 and 2014, the trainer fabricated qualifications in aged care, disability and business management, which she provided to her employer, as well as to an ASQA auditor.

ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the bogus qualifications were uncovered during an ASQA investigation.

See more.

Finalists announced for Victorian training awards

TAFE institutes, teachers and students are well-represented among the finalists for the 2016 Victorian Training Awards.

The Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert announced the finalists across 15 categories.

Three institutes - Box Hill, Bendigo Kangan, and Federation University are in the running for Large Training Provider of the Year.

Marc Nichol (Events and Tourism Teacher, Holmesglen) and Luke Perry (Automotive Training Advisor, Bendigo Kangan TAFE) are finalists for VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year.

A new award, the Lynne Kosky Memorial Award, will recognise lifetime achievement in the promotion of educational excellence in VET in Victoria.

Diary Dates

VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
More information

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
18 - 19 August, 2016
More information

NSW TAFE Managers Association
26 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
More information

National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information

LH Martin Institute
Innovation Eco-systems: Study Mission to Italy and the Netherlands
21-30 September 2016
More information

TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
More information

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
More information

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information


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