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Newsletter | 29 March 2016

In this edition


Vocational education and skills minister defends private training colleges as another collapses

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Senator Scott Ryan has launched a defence of what he says is the majority of private training providers amid the latest private college collapse, and has sought to point to the growth of VET FEE-HELP loans to TAFE.

Senator Ryan told ABC Radio National Breakfast that "there are a lot of good private providers that we never read about that are long standing in the vocational sector. We should not let actions of a few dodgy shonks tar the work of a lot."

He was commenting on the latest private college failure - Australian Careers Network, which attracted $160 million in Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP and has approximately 15,000 students.

In defending the private college sector in response to ABC interviewer Fran Kelly, Senator Ryan noted that the TAFE sector "is also a very big user of VET FEE-HELP."

"They have increased…they have more than doubled in three years their access to VET FEE-HELP money," he said.

"They have gone from $168 million to $360 plus million".

TDA's inaugural edition of TAFE Futures magazine published a detailed NCVER analysis commissioned by TDA, tracking federal VET funding, and Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP allocations.

The analysis revealed that over the period 2012-2014,a total of $1.8 billion in  Commonwealth loans were issued to education providers, with  the private provider share growing from $224 million to $1.4 billion, or 80% of the total (see chart below).

Full details of the TDA-NCVER analysis will be released soon.


Escalating student debt needs reform, says Grattan Institute

Reducing the thresholds at which former students repay their debt to the Higher Education Loan Program would increase repayments by an initial $500 million a year and more over time, according to a new report by the Grattan Institute's Andrew Norton.

Without change, HELP costs will escalate, putting other education programs at risk of cuts.

'HELP for the future: fairer repayment of student debt' finds that an estimated $1.6 billion lent to students in 2014-15 – a fifth of all lending under the program that year – will not be repaid.

"Vocational education diploma students now get HELP, and are less likely than higher education graduates to earn $55,869 or more," the report says.

It says a $42,000 threshold would be a more realistic way to address major trends in the earnings of those with HELP debts.

Research finds social disadvantage a major factor in VET success

Students with social disadvantage including Indigenous students are less likely to complete their VET qualifications than those with poor language skills, according to new research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

"On average, we estimate a lower completion rate, of six percentage points, among those from a disadvantaged group compared with that of those who are not from a disadvantaged group (completion gap)," the research says.

"Indigenous students and individuals who have multiple disadvantages are those who experience the largest gaps in completion, with differences in completion rates close to ten percentage points. For individuals with low English language proficiency we find only a very small course completion gap."

However, the tables turn when it comes to finding a job after VET study. Graduates with low levels of English have the greatest difficulty - some 45 percentage points lower than native English speakers.

"In contrast, the gap is relatively small (around ten percentage points) for Indigenous graduates and for VET students who live in low SES areas, independent of their VET completion state," NCVER says.

Victoria's TAFEs get first installment of $200 million community funding

William Angliss Institute has received $3.3 million - the first Victorian TAFE to receive money under the state government's $200 million Community Service funding program.

The program will reduce barriers to disadvantaged learners to gain access to training in regional communities.

William Anglis will use its allocation to boost the Hospitality Employment
and Training (HEAT) Program, which provides a 12-week full time youth re-engagement program including counselling and support.

The Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert visited apprentices and trainees
at William Angliss to announce the first allocation under the program.

All of Victoria's TAFEs and dual sector universities will share in the $200 million funding over four years.

Senior executive wanted for TAFE Queensland, Brisbane

TAFE Queensland, Brisbane is seeking to fill the position of Executive Director, Education.

The senior executive role is a key part of the organisation's program delivery to 40,000 students across ten campuses.

See more.

Political and policy experts to gather for group training national conference

There is just over a week until the 2016 Group Training National Conference, 'Skilling for Growth' (7 - 8 April) in Adelaide.

Speakers include the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Senator Scott Ryan; Shadow Minister, Sharon Bird; Mitchell Institute Professorial Fellow, Peter Noonan; UTS's Dr Damien Oliver; Sydney University's Professor John Buchanan and Dr Phillip Toner; and futurist, Gihan Perera.

An overview of the political landscape will be presented by political journalist and academic, Peter Van Onselen.

See more.

Changes to Queensland department of education website

The Queensland Department of Education and Training has released an update to its Training website as part of a migration to SharePoint 2013.

Although the site looks and feels the same, there have been some changes to web addresses (URLs). Redirects have been set up to ensure users still have access through stored and old links.

For anyone who has bookmarked particular pages on the website, it is recommended they are updates as soon as possible.

For any suggestions, queries or concerns about the new website, please email: Infoservices@dete.qld.gov.au.

Australians reach for a screen to relax  

The most common use of an hour or more of free time for Australians aged between 25 and 50 is in front of a screen, according to research commissioned by OTEN, the online arm of TAFE Western Sydney.

Of those who chose the screen option, the preferences are watching TV (92%), using social media (84%) and undertaking other internet-related activities (96%).

OTEN commissioned Roy Morgan to undertake research to unearth the ways in which people use their free time and address the challenges associated with using it more productively.

One-in-four said, with an extra hour up their sleeve, they’d be keen to learn a new skill to develop or change their careers.

When asked more specifically about their interest in learning a new skill, developing current skills further or undertaking learning opportunities for personal or professional reasons, 87% said they were either very or fairly interested. 

Diary Dates

Group Training National Conference
‘Skilling for Growth’
7 – 8 April, 2016

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AVETRA 19th Annual Conference 
20 – 22 April 2016

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

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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
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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  
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2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
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Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
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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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Corporate Affiliates