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Newsletter | 21 September 2015

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In this edition  

 

TDA welcomes new Turnbull ministry

Prime Minister Turnbull’s promotion of Senator Simon Birmingham to Minister for Education and Training brings confidence of a more balanced approach to skills and training for Australia’s education sector, TDA said in a statement released yesterday.

TDA also welcomes the appointment of Luke Hartsuyker as Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, as well as the appointment of Senator Richard Colbeck as Minister for Tourism and International Education.

In his media conference, the prime minister noted Senator Birmingham’s progress in reforming vocational education and his drive for quality outcomes, which has involved strong support for TAFE and quality providers in a mixed public-private system, both in Australia and in regional markets including China.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan said the PM’s equal emphasis on 21st century innovation, with the appointment of Christopher Pyne as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, will present opportunities for TAFE in light of industry restructuring taking place in major cities and regions.

“TAFE Directors welcome engaging with Ministers Birmingham, Hartsuyker, Colbeck and Pyne, as well as their departments on the innovation agenda of the Turnbull government.

“Minister Birmingham’s experience in training will inform a more balanced approach to tertiary education and training.

“He has impressed the sector with extensive consultation and legislation to improve governance of providers accessing VET FEE-HELP loans.”

See the full Turnbull ministry.


Minister takes action to oust private training provider

The federal government has fired another shot across the bows of low quality private training providers and inappropriate marketing by brokers, with orders to turn off access to the lucrative VET FEE-HELP market.

It follows media revelations regarding Melbourne-based Phoenix Institute and broker, Education Circle. (See article below).

“I have asked for my Department to consider commencing the processes to remove the Phoenix Institute as a VET FEE-HELP provider,” said former Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham.

“I have asked the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to conclude as fast as they reasonably can, their investigations in to this training provider and to consider, as part of those investigations, suspending or revoking their license to operate as a training provider.

“I have also requested that ASQA and the Department consider investigations into any other RTOs using Education Circle as a broker,” he said.

Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird called on the government, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and ASQA to act as a matter of urgency on “get rich quick” practices.

“It is now time for the ACCC and ASQA to stamp out these practices and send a strong message to the sector that this conduct is unacceptable,” Ms Bird said.


Earn $32k a month - Fairfax investigation reveals VET sign-up rewards

It has been claimed that agents attached to a private training firm tried to sign up people with intellectual disabilities while boasting about the riches to be made from VET FEE-HELP.

An investigation by Fairfax Media reveals what it claims are misleading tactics employed by agents operating on behalf of Melbourne’s Phoenix Institute, owned by the publicly listed Australian Careers Network Limited (ACN).

Video shows one of the agents bragging about the wealth to be made from VET FEE-HELP sign-ups - $800 per sign up, 10 customers per week, worth $32,000 a month.

The article claims brokers operating door-to-door offered an intellectually disabled couple a free laptop and helped them to complete a literacy and numeracy test, while trying to enroll them in VET FEE-HELP courses.

ACN says the Fairfax article is inaccurate and misleading.

“The Company regularly receives applications for enrolment of students from third party student brokers,” it says.

“In this instance, the student was canvassed by a broker, failed to pass Phoenix’s pre-enrolment checks, and as confirmed in the video accompanying the article, was not enrolled in any course as that application was not accepted by Phoenix,” the statement says.

See ‘Vocational education, the biggest get-rich quick scheme in Australia’.

See Australian Careers Network’s response.


Legislation paves the way for streamlined international education

The federal government has introduced legislation to streamline and remove regulation affecting international education providers.

The former Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne last week introduced the Education Services for Overseas Students (Streamlining Regulation) Amendment Bill 2015 which removes unnecessary reporting from the ESOS Act.

“This Bill removes duplicative regulations and cuts unnecessary red tape to allow our institutions to focus on their core business and be even more competitive in offering world class education,” Mr Pyne said.

He estimated the reform will generate $76 million a year in savings for education institutions.


NSW extends subsidised training places

The NSW government is to provide greater access to subsidised training for students with existing qualifications.

The Minister for Skills John Barilaro announced that from 2016, students with a Certificate IV or higher qualification will be able to access subsidised training at the Foundation Skills and Certificates II and III levels, provided it is on the Skills List.

“The adjustment means more people can access high quality, affordable training so they have the skills for the jobs of the future, and employers have a skilled workforce,” he said.

“I continue to meet with students, employers, training providers and the community and the message is clear - people with higher qualifications should have access to government-supported training,” Mr Barilaro said.

He said the policy would benefit more than 30,000 students.





Diary Dates

NESA National Conference
The Spirit of Collaboration

DATE: 27-29 September 2015
LOCATION: The Marriott Resort Surfers Paradise
DETAILS: More information.

Australian International Education Conference 2015
International education: global, responsible, sustainable

DATE: 6 – 9 October 2015
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
DETAILS: More information.

Australia India Business Council Queensland Chapter
The Annual Australia India Address 2015-09-18

DATE: 8 October 2015
LOCATION: Stamford Plaza, Brisbane
DETAILS: More information.

2015 Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
DATE: 11 – 14 October 2015
LOCATION: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, NSW.
DETAILS: More information.

2015 AUSTAFE National Conference
Bringing TAFE and VET to the Nation’s Capital

DATE: 28 – 30 October 2015
LOCATION: Canberra
DETAILS: Contact National President Jerome.DeRose@cit.edu.au


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