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Newsletter | 23 January 2017

In this edition


TAFE numbers jump, latest data shows

TAFE's share of students in government-funded training jumped in the first nine months of 2016, according to latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

In the January to September 2016 period, there were a total of 1.07 million students enrolled in government-funded VET, a 4.8% increase compared with January to September 2015.

Of the total, TAFE accounted for approximately 610,000 students or almost 57%, an increase of 14%. Over the same period, the share accounted for by private and community providers slipped by about 5%.

NSW was the main driver of the increase in government-funded training, where student numbers increased almost 50% over the nine-month period in 2016.


ASQA cancels college registrations

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has cancelled the registrations of a host of private training providers over recent weeks.They include: 

  • ASCET Institute of Technology
  • 5 Star Training Institute 
  • Advanced Knowledge in Skin Science
  • Australia-Wide Business Training
  • Quality Unlimited
  • NITE School and Nationwide Instructors, Trainers and Educators
  • Onsite Training Services
  • Entertain Interactive
  • Excellent Training Institute 
  • June Dally-Watkins 
  • Master Group 
  • Optimal Progression 
  • Drilling Skills Australia.

The cancellations take effect from 1 February.

MYEFO targets skills funding

The federal government put an axe through the Industry Skills Fund as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released just before Christmas.

The scrapping of the scheme will save $119 million over four years. Grants already approved under the scheme will be honoured but no new grants were accepted after 31 December 2016.

The program was originally designed to create some 60,000 training places for largely micro, small and medium sized businesses to help them diversify, export, and become more innovative.

The MYEFO also raised a question over the future of Commonwealth National Partnership payments to the states for skills and workforce development which are due to end next June.

The MYEFO (below) shows that no funding has been allocated in the forward estimates beyond $527 million for 2016-17.

Auditor-General to probe alternative apprenticeship grants

The Auditor-General is to examine three grants made by the Department of Education and Training under the Apprenticeship Training Alternative Delivery Pilots program.

The program provided grants of $1.84 million each to Master Builders Australia, the National Electrical Communications Association, and the North East Vocational College, whose director was former Family First senator Bob Day.

Correspondence from Deputy Auditor-General Rona Mellor to the Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says that the audit will assess the department's establishment of the program.

"To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO will examine whether the department established the program in accordance with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines," the letter says.

The report will be tabled in April.

TDA meets with Ambassador to Peru

TDA has participated in a meeting with Australia's Ambassador to Peru, Mr. Nicholas McCaffrey, along with the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

In the mid-January meeting, Peru’s potential as an emerging market in education was discussed. The recent economic growth and political stability in Peru has allowed for an increased focus on, and funding of education, which the Peruvian government sees as a means to uplift Peru from a developing to a developed country.

To this end, the Peruvian government has undertaken reform to improve its VET sector, which has culminated in new legislation which will create Peru’s first public technical college system. The Peruvian government is keen to seek advice from foreign partners to help develop and build the capacity of its system.

Australian engagement with Peru has increased in recent years. In November 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Peru and a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Education was signed.

Peru’s economy is reliant on mining, energy, tourism, agriculture and fishing - a similar composition to the Australian economy. This connection presents an opportunity for continued and extended educational ties.

Ambassador McCaffrey encouraged TAFE’s to consider Peru in their Latin American strategies.

TAFEs travelling to, or considering visiting Peru, are encouraged to make contact with the embassy, either through Austrade's Marie Hill, marie.hill@austrade.gov.au or the Ambassador (nick.mccaffrey@dfat.gov.au).

VET student loan courses and loan limits finalised

The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham issued, prior to Christmas, the determination that outlines the courses for which VET student loans are available under the new VET Student Loans program.

The determination also details the maximum loan amounts for approved courses and the annual indexation arrangements.

Unpaid work experience widespread in Australia

Unpaid work experience is widespread in Australia, with more than half of young adults having undertaken an unpaid placement, according to research conducted for the federal Department of Employment.

The research found that among those aged 18-29, some 58% had undertaken at least one episode of unpaid work experience in the past five years. Overall, the research estimates a third (34%) of Australians aged 18-64 have done so.

Of those who undertook unpaid work experience, 36% said their most recent placement lasted more than a month. One third had undertaken a single internship or placement, while 21% had undertaken five or more episodes in the past five years.

The research was conducted by Dr Damian Oliver of UTS Business School, Professor Paula McDonald of QUT, and Professor Andrew Stewart and Associate Professor Anne Hewitt of Adelaide Law School.

The survey report can be found here.

See an article in The Conversation.

TEQSA gets a glowing review

More than 80 per cent of stakeholders believe that the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is doing an excellent or good job.

The results of a survey sent to 194 higher education providers and 24 peak, professional and student bodies have been incorporated in the TEQSA Regulator Performance Framework Report 2015-2016.

With a 63 per cent response rate to the survey, TEQSA Chief Executive Officer Anthony McClaran said that TEQSA greatly appreciated the commitment by respondents, as well as their willingness to provide open and frank feedback.

The survey also found that 81 per cent of Vice-Chancellors and Chief Executive Officers from higher education providers rated TEQSA highly for its open, transparent and consistent dealings.

TEQSA received its lowest rating in regard to the issue "Regulatory actions undertaken by TEQSA are proportionate to the risks being managed."

See the survey results.

Nominations open for roles shaping printing and graphic arts industry training

Interested stakeholders are invited to play a part in the design of training packages for the printing and graphic arts industry.

Nominations are open for places on the Printing and Graphic Arts Industry Reference Committee (IRC).

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) is reviewing all IRCs to ensure the structure and membership provides the best possible industry coverage and expertise to support training package development.

A proposed structure for the Printing and Graphic Arts IRC was made available for public consultation on 12 December.

The structure was amended in consultation with the Industry Reference Committee Chair based on feedback received from stakeholders.
To nominate, follow the instructions on the AISC website. The closing date for nominations is 3 February.
Information about the review is on the AISC’s website at www.aisc.net.au/content/irc-review

Diary Dates

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
2017 Skills Conference
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information coming soon

26th National VET Research Conference 'No Frills' 
5 - 7 July 2017
More information.

2017 TDA Convention - Network TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017
More information coming soon

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
2 - 3 November 2017
Radisson Hotel, Sydney
More information coming soon


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