In this edition
- Renewal of VET qualifications – by TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson
- VET Coalition of Education Leaders
- Commonwealth takes over tuition assurance
- VET system needs to stop doing things on the cheap, TDA says
- Student payment changes coming next January
- Australian training awards only days away
- Chance to enter world federation awards of excellence
- Diary Dates
Renewal of VET qualifications – by TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson
TDA has advocated for some time for a fundamental examination of qualifications in the sector. The COAG Council for Industry and Skills has undertaken to examine the case for change to training products (training package qualifications and accredited courses) to ensure vocational education and training remains contemporary for the demands of the economy and society.
The case for change should seek to clarify the purpose and scope of formally recognised training in the sector, the essential elements of qualifications and methods of assuring delivery against the expected outcomes from training and learning programs.
Ministers should consider whether the high number of bespoke qualifications against individual occupations matched to industry structures and award and wage arrangements is a reasonable trade-off for the sector to carry. Is organised industry alone best suited to determine the content of most qualifications in the sector? The extent of qualification capture to industry demands and employer rent seeking, compared to the smooth passage to work these qualifications can offer, needs close examination.
Whether Australia needs, or the sector actually delivers, nationally consistent qualifications to assist labour mobility, the very foundation of the national training system, should be evaluated. Once these basic issues are agreed, key questions on the role of VET qualifications need to be answered.
At the core is whether qualifications prepare people simply for work tasks or whether they pursue deeper learning and skills that empower them for future work, for entrepreneurship vital to establishing innovate small businesses and start-ups, as well as for bringing new skills and technologies into firms. These are clearly big issues.
I understand the COAG Council this coming Friday is considering the case for change. I hope they commit to consult with the sector. The nature of qualifications is the skeleton on which a vital VET system depends. We need to get it right.
These issues are so important that I’m planning on forming a VET Coalition of Education Leaders.
I’m inviting all who are committed to a strong and vibrant VET system with a qualifications system to match to join me. We need to have the big questions answered. We need an approach that helps all students realise their dreams. We want our training and learning practice to empower, not simply to comply.
If you are interested in joining me just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
This is not just a TAFE thing. It’s something I passionately feel the sector needs to address and I want to work with others with the same passion to see how we can contribute to change.
Commonwealth takes over tuition assurance
The federal government will take control of the VET sector’s tuition assurance program as an interim measure during 2018, while it develops a more sustainable ongoing regime.
The Department of Education and Training has written to training providers advising that it will manage the new arrangement which will cover students and providers using VET Student Loans, FEE-HELP and grandfathered VET FEE-HELP students.
“Subject to meeting certain conditions relating to course assurance and financial requirements to cover fee assurance, providers will be exempt from tuition assurance requirements during 2018,” the departmental advice says.
TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) and the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) operate Tuition Assurance Schemes (TAS) which protect students who are unable to complete units of study because a training provider ceases to provide a course.
The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said that the tuition assurance arrangements play a key role in underpinning confidence in the tertiary system.
“The tuition assurance providers from Labor’s VET FEE-HELP scheme have said they are at risk of over-extending themselves.
“We’re making a pre-emptive strike to ensure all students in 2018 remain protected and can get high quality training with confidence,” Senator Birmingham said.
VET system needs to stop doing things on the cheap, TDA says
The VET sector should be re-focused on the needs of individuals, instead of aiming to do things in the cheapest way possible, TDA chief executive Craig Robertson has urged.
Speaking on ABC Radio National Saturday Extra, he said the sector was coming to grips with a “crisis of confidence”.
“Everyone is sitting back and saying ‘how could it be that half a dozen training providers could have taken up to $2bn of student loans then closed down and repatriated those dollars overseas with very little impact on them?’’
“We’ve got to come back to the individual first – we do it in Gonski and we do it in higher education funding. I don’t know why in VET we celebrate trying to do things in the cheapest way possible, and in essence, that’s what’s been happening to TAFEs around Australia.”
Joining TDA in the discussion were Megan Lilly from Australian Industry Group, and Leesa Wheelahan from the University of Toronto.
Student payment changes coming next January
TAFE institutes have been reminded by the Commonwealth of changes to eligibility for student payments commencing 1 January 2018.
The changes, which were announced in the last Budget, restrict eligibility for student payments to VET courses (at diploma level and above) and education providers that are approved for VET Student Loans (VSL).
Current students will continue to receive payments until they finish their courses, provided there is no break in entitlement.
The new measure direct student payments to courses that have a high national priority, meet industry needs, address skills shortages, and align with employment outcomes.
See the approved courses and providers for VSL:
Australian training awards only days away
The country’s top training providers, VET teachers, trainers, apprentices and trainees will be honoured this week at the 2017 Australian Training Awards.
The awards dinner takes place in Canberra on Thursday.
Charles Darwin University, Gordon Institute of TAFE and Canberra Institute of Technology are finalists in the Large Training provider of the Year Award.
Box Hill Institute and Holmesglen Institute are in the running for International Training Provider of the Year.
Chance to enter world federation awards of excellence
Nominations are now open for the 3rd World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence.
The awards ceremony will take place in Melbourne at the 9th Bi-Annual World Congress, October 8-10, 2018.
There are seven categories of awards:
- Access to Learning and Employment
- Applied Research
- Green Colleges
- Leadership Development
- Higher Technical
- Student Support Services
Recipients of the awards will be featured in the WFCP’s 2nd World Best Practice Guide in Professional and Technical Education. Nominations close 12 February 2018.