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Newsletter | 31 October 2016

In this edition


TDA seeks changes to improve student access under new loans scheme

TDA has raised a number of issues with the federal government's planned overhaul of the VET FEE-HELP scheme during a Senate committee hearing in Melbourne last week.

TDA Chair Mary Faraone and CEO Mr Martin Riordan appeared at the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment hearing into the VET Student Loans Bill 2016.

They said that while supporting the legislation, there were concerns that cuts to the approved course list and the proposed loan caps would impede student access to quality diploma and higher level VET courses at TAFE.

TDA called for a 12-month exemption from the new measures for TAFEs in order to ensure a smooth transition to the scheme for the 140,000 students currently receiving VET FEE-HELP.

TDA also called for debts to be waived for students impacted by the worst of the private college behaviour, especially where they had not realised they had been enrolled or been duped into courses.

See the committee transcript.

Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham and TDA Chair Mary Faraone in Canberra last week

VET FEE-HELP scheme the "worst" piece of public policy ever, says ASQA

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) Commissioner for Risk, Intelligence and Regulatory Support, Michael Lavarch, told a Senate hearing into the proposed student loan bill that the old scheme was the worst example of public policy he had seen.

"I have been in and around public life for a long time. I think I can fairly say that this was the worst piece of public policy I have ever seen," Mr Lavarch said.

He said problems with VET FEE-HELP first came to light in mid to late-2014 and that the federal government was advised at the time.

Department of Education and Training Deputy Secretary, Skills and Training, Dr Subho Banerjee said it was clear in 2014 that there was "very dramatic growth" and that, under those circumstances, "it was incumbent upon the department to monitor that more closely".

Since May 2016, the department has clawed back $13.2 million in debts incurred by 1500 students and has 28 private providers still under investigation.

ACPET CEO Rod Camm said he believed that less than 20 of its 1200 members abused the scheme and five were expelled.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young put on notice a series of questions about when the ACPET board was first made aware of members acting unscrupulously, when it decided to expel or take action against a member, and when the first notification was made to the Department of Education.

See the committee transcript.

Five new TAFE managing directors announced in Western Australia

The West Australian government has announced the five new managing directors who will oversee the state's reformed TAFE sector.

Deputy Premier and Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said all of the appointees have been given five-year terms, and that each holds a wealth of experience and knowledge of the sector.

The managing directors are:

  • Ms Terry Durant - South Metropolitan TAFE
  • Ms Michelle Hoad - North Metropolitan TAFE
  • Mr Duncan Anderson - South Regional TAFE
  • Mr Bill Swetman - Central Regional TAFE
  • Mr Kevin Doig - North Regional TAFE

Under its recent reform, Western Australia reduced the management structure of its 70 campuses from 11 institutions to five TAFEs.

European report underlines importance of labour market information in career development

A study, published by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) has found that comprehensive labour market information (LMI) should be integrated into learners' educational experience.

Quality LMI was found to empower learners to find better job and career pathways, and to help them identify strategies to minimise mismatches between their skills and job requirements.

The study cautions that LMI should be able to account for regional as well as national skills needs, and should be as comprehensive as possible, combining data from sector councils and national statistical reports.

TasTAFE wins approval from employers and students

TasTAFE has received a tick from industry, with more than 90% of employers saying the training provides job-ready workforce skills.

The Minister for Education and TrainingJeremy Rockliff also said the survey showed that more than 80% of TasTAFE graduates agreed they were well prepared for the labour market.

The figures were included in the TasTAFE 2015-2016 Annual Report, tabled in Parliament.

Mr Rockliff said that over the past year nearly 25,000 students enrolled at 13 TasTAFE campuses across 370 qualifications, with an increase in apprentice numbers across key industries including agriculture, construction, automotive, and information technology.

Diary Dates

E-Oz and Skills Oz Conference
Assuring quality in the National VET system – Change, Challenge and Opportunity
8 - 9 November, 2016
Marriott Resort & Spa, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
More information

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

Pathways13 Conference: Changes, Challenges and Choice – embracing the future
Disability practitioners from TAFEs and universities around Australia
30 November - 2 December, 2016
Canberra, Australia
More information

2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group 
8 - 9 December, 2016
More information


Corporate Affiliates