NCVER report shows federal funding of the VET sector has dropped 11% in the last 2 years

Federal government funding for TAFE and training was cut by $326 million last year, a new report says. According to the NCVER report the NSW government increased their contribution to vocational education significantly by 20.5 percent in the 2018 calendar year compared with the previous year.

Read more here:–spt.html and

New providers of AASN services to commence early 2020

Apprenticeship support providers announced for 2020
The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business tender outcome was recently announced by the Federal Government with seven providers selected through a competitive tender process to deliver services. Successful bids were made by  MEGT, Apprenticeship Support Australia, MAS National, Sarina Russo Job Access, VERTO Ltd, Australian Apprenticeships NT, Busy at Work

NCVER NEWS Edition #467: Online learning, group training a plus, latest podcast and more


Online VET courses show mixed outcomes

VET courses delivered entirely online have higher non-completion levels than other modes of training, but for students who do complete, employment outcomes can be comparable to those delivered via other modes.

This research provides a contemporary view of how online learning is used to deliver entire qualifications in the Australian VET sector. It estimates the extent that entire qualifications are delivered online, investigates what this online delivery looks like and whether online training is providing students with similar experiences and outcomes as face-to-face training. It culminates with identification of what makes for good practice in online delivery.

To learn more, download the report on our Portal.

Group training a plus for apprenticeship completion rates

Group training organisations’ focus on providing pastoral care and ongoing support for apprentices and trainees has a positive effect on completions, according to a new report.

Findings also show that apprentice and trainee completion rates depend on a range of other attributes including employer size and apprentice demographics.

“Maximising apprenticeship completion rates has been a longstanding concern for governments because they represent the return on significant government investment in training,” said Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.

“Employing apprentices with group training organisations is one means of doing this, as they can provide the additional care and ongoing support required by some apprentices to successfully complete their training contract.”

To find out more, download the report on our Portal.

Vocational Voices new episode: Youth pathways – from school to work and everything between

Join us for season 3 episode 2 of our podcast, Vocational Voices.

Youth pathways… from school to work and everything between features co-hosts Steve Davis and Simon Walker (MD, NCVER) talking with Will Stubley (co-founder, Year13) about factors that influence young people when making post-school decisions about further education and employment.

Visit our Portal to listen to the episode and subscribe via your preferred platform.

New to Vocational Voices? Check out Season 2 for episodes on Industry 4.0, apprentices and trainees, and more.

Season 1 is also available and includes a full back catalogue of our past podcast episodes.

Focus on… VET reform

The global technological, economic, and social changes transforming work have prompted discussion internationally into how VET can best meet today’s skilling needs and tomorrow’s challenges.

The latest issue of Focus on discusses current VET reform and reviews occurring in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Our ‘Focus on’ pages present an analysis of relevant research, policy, commentary, multimedia and statistics on a topic currently important in the sector.

Previous topics include:

FREE: don’t miss our upcoming webinars

VET for secondary school students: employment and further training destinations
 Tuesday 29 October 2019, 1.30-2.30pm ACDT
Register now! Don’t miss out!

Join us as we explore the destinations of students who studied VET as part of their senior secondary assessment at school.

Discover more pluses! What’s new in VOCEDplus
 Wednesday 6 November 2019, 1.30-2.30pm ACDT
Register now to secure your place!

Tune in as we discuss new updates and additions to VOCEDplus, including the VET Practitioner Resource, the Landmark historical overviews, and our new look homepage.

NCVER internal restructure

An internal restructure commenced at NCVER earlier this financial year. The overarching goal was to develop a structure that best delivers NCVER’s Strategic Plan and to transform the way we deliver products through implementing latest tech in the industry.

As a result of the restructure, there have been position, branch and job description shuffles, as well as external employment opportunities.

One of our latest recruits, Mark Williams, will be joining NCVER from 18 November 2019 in the newly created role of General Manager for Data Transformation and Technology. With over 20 years experience in state government and the education sector, Mark will bring a diverse set of skills to our organisation.

NCVER would like to extend a warm welcome to Mark and all our new recruits.

Coming soon

Stay tuned for the following NCVER releases over the coming weeks:

  • Statistics: Employers’ use and views of the VET system 2019
  • Podcast: Vocational Voices season 3 episode 3
  • Research: Are skill sets booming? An analysis of training package skill sets
  • Statistics: Government-funded students and courses January – June 2019

Keep an eye on Twitter and LinkedIn for more in-depth information on our latest releases, or subscribe to receive notifications on the day of release.

Upcoming events

Conference: 2019 Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference
18-20 November 2019, Brisbane
Keynote: NCVER’s Lisel O’Dwyer will present Provision of foundation programs by community education providers in regional and remote Australia.

Event: Australian Training Awards 2019 
21 November 2019, Brisbane
The VET sector’s national award event, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skill Australia.

Conference: ANU Beyond Year 12 Conference 2019
2-3 December 2019, Canberra
Presenter: NCVER’s Alison Anlezark will present Should school students combine school and work, and other answers from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY).

Conference:  5th Annual Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
9-10 December 2019, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Presenter: NCVER’s Kirsten Osborne will present Disadvantaged learners in VET; relevant findings from NCVER research on online delivery and the recognition of prior learning.


Victorian TAFE enrolment processes audited

Victorian TAFE enrolment processes audited

September 2019 saw the release of a report from the Victorian Auditor General examining the efficiency of enrolment processes for government-subsidised training at four Technical and Further Education Institutes (TAFEs) and one dual sector university.

It also looked at the Department of Education and Training’s oversight of and support provided to TAFEs to meet their contractual requirements.



Regional Development Australia Tasmanian body speaks on future jobs

The organisation is one of several Tasmanian bodies that have made submissions to a Senate inquiry into Australia’s future workforce.

In its submission, RDA Tasmania said education providers, including the University of Tasmania and TasTAFE, needed to provide relevant cost-effective courses which were matched to skills required for current and future jobs.

“It is also noted that industry has a responsibility to ensure that their future workforce needs, both in terms of skills and timing of demand, are known to support the training institutions forward planning and course offerings,” it said.

The federal government in August released an issues paper on a review of apprenticeships and the country’s skills needs.

The review is set to be completed before a new government apprenticeship incentive program is established on July 1.

That program is intended to provide incentives in areas where specific skills are needed.

It is believed up to 80,000 new apprentices would receive the support over five years.

The Housing Industry Association welcomed the review.

“The VET sector provides the crucial pathway to growing and developing a skilled workforce for the residential building industry, strengthening the industry’s capacity to provide a roof over Australian’s heads,” executive director for skills and development, Harley Dale, said.

“Any steps to improve the operation of vocational education and training can hopefully enhance the interest of students in pursuing a career in the residential building industry.”


$26.5M Fine For Poor Quality Provider

Summary —

The Federal Court has ordered $26.5 million in penalties against Cornerstone Investments Aust Pty Ltd, trading as Empower Institute (in liquidation), and ordered Empower to repay more than $56 million to the Commonwealth for funding it had received to provide the courses.

Key Issues —

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has successfully taken action against Empower Institute in the Federal Court, that saw an order for $26.5 million in penalties and an order to repay more than $56 million to the Commonwealth for funding it had received to provide the courses.

The Federal Court found that Empower had engaged in a system of unconscionable conduct when it enrolled consumers in VET FEE-HELP funded courses. The court found the organisation did so by marketing courses to consumers in remote communities, indigenous communities and low socio-economic areas, making false or misleading representations, using recruiters who were practically untrained and, in some cases, offering inducements such as free Google Chromebooks.

Between June 2014 and December 2014, Empower enrolled more than 4,000 students. It ceased trading and in April 2017 and entered into voluntary liquidation.

The Court described Empower’s conduct as involving a “callous indifference” to consumer protection, including signing up consumers for courses which meant they took on large VET-FEE HELP debts, for Empower’s financial gain.

The VET FEE-HELP program was poorly designed and the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) had counselled the Australian Government about the risks to students, taxpayer funds and the reputation of the vocational education and training (VET) system.

Since the closure of the VET FEE-HELP program ITECA has worked collaboratively with the Australian Government to ensure a student-centric approach to funding and loan programs.

Based on the Court’s findings and using the new VET FEE-HELP Student Redress measures, the Commonwealth has decided to cancel the debts of over 6,000 consumers enrolled in courses with Empower in 2014 and 2015.

Member Engagement:

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.

Further Information:

For more information on this issue please send an email to or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at


Newsflash: UK to reintroduce two year post-graduation work visa

Two-year work rights for international students in UK reinstated for 2020/21

The UK education sector is elated that post-study work rights are set to be offered to international students for two years post-graduation, with enrolments from the 2020/21 academic year set to benefit from this new immigration rule.

Work rights for international students in the UK will be rolled out for all – the welcome mat is out again, say stakeholders.
“The economy, universities and students will all benefit from a more sensible approach”

In the midst of a political meltdown, the government revealed the policy change as part of an announcement about the world’s largest genetics research project also being launched, with the emphasis on the UK’s need for expertise – notably in STEM fields – made apparent.

“This will put the UK back where we ought to be”

“International students make up half of all full-time postgraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects. The new immigration route… will mean international graduates in any subject, including STEM, will be able to stay in the UK for two years to find work,” read the statement.

UUKi director Vivienne Stern, just back from a trade delegation to India, welcomed the change.

She told The PIE News, “This will put the UK back where we ought to be – a first-choice destination for international students. We lost ground in the last few years, particularly in South Asia.”

It was a rule that the sector had been campaigning hard for, particularly in the last few years, since the same two-year work rights were rescinded in 2012.

Indian student enrolments were particularly impacted by the post-study restrictions, with corresponding huge growth in Indian enrolments in Canada.

“In India last week, there was huge press and student interest in the likelihood of this change so I feel very confident that the announcement will result in a real bounce in interest in the UK,” noted Stern.

“This is very positive news,” echoed UUK chief executive Alastair Jarvis.

“Evidence shows that international students bring significant positive social outcomes to the UK as well as £26 billion in economic contributions, but for too long the lack of post-study work opportunities in the UK has put us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting those students.”

According to a government statement, the new PSW visa will be available to students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK HEI which has a “proven track record” in upholding immigration checks.

There will be no cap on the number of applications.

The new immigration route will enable eligible students to work or job hunt at any skill level, and they will be able to switch to the Skilled Work route if they find a job which meets its requirements.

Asked which cohort of students will be the first to benefit from the new regulations, a Home Office spokesperson told The PIE: “Plans will be revealed in due course. Universities will be able to recruit on the basis that students of 2020/2021 will benefit. The government is currently working on a timeline.”

The sector has enthusiastically welcomed the news. “At last. Godot has finally arrived,” HEPI director Nick Hillman told The PIE.

“All the evidence suggests we need a better regime. We’ve been slipping behind our competitors because our offer has been so uncompetitive. The economy, universities and students will all benefit from a more sensible approach.”

The new regulations are good news for the ELT sector as well, English UK commented, highlighting the sector’s role as a pipeline for HEIs and expressing hope the news will enhance its competitiveness on the global stage.

“This announcement makes the UK a more attractive place to study,” English UK marketing director Annie Wright told The PIE.

“It is likely to mean that more young people and their families will choose the UK’s ELT sector to start their educational journeys or prepare for university study, in the knowledge that they can get a valuable two extra years of experience and using their skills in the workplace.

“We can also hope that this is only the start of making the UK more attractive to all international students through the visa system and positive messaging, so that the ELT sector can compete effectively with other destinations.”

The policy change has “been a really long time coming”, as Stern noted, with many sector stakeholders actively engaged in lobbying for the past few years.

“We felt we had won the policy argument some time ago, but it really took some dogged persistence to make sure that minister after minister pressed for the change in government,” she explained.

“At last. Godot has finally arrived”

Stern said particular credit should go to outgoing universities minister Jo Johnson (who resigned last week), but also to his predecessor Chris Skidmore, and to Paul Blomfield, Lord Hannay and Lord Karan Bilimoria who have “pressed and pressed for years to get the government to make the visa system welcoming, rather than off-putting, to international students.”

Hillman agreed. “I shall forever think of it as the Jo Johnson memorial policy, given the excellent work he did on this in and out of office,” he added.