Morrison Government to subsidise apprentice wages for small business

Morrison Government to subsidise apprentice wages for small business

Almost 120,000 apprentices will get half their wages paid for in the first part of the Morrison government’s stimulus package to push the economy along as the impact of the coronavirus bites. The $1.3 billion plan will cover half the wages of 117,000 apprentices working for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, for nine months until September this year.

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Celebrity builder’s gig as VET spruiker under scrutiny

Celebrity builder's gig as VET spruiker under scrutiny

Scott Cam has attended just one event since October last year as the National Career Ambassador despite pocketing $145,000 of his $350,000 18 month-contract. The Block star’s sole public appearance was a press conference alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Skills Minister Michaelia Cash to announce his appointment last year. Cam had also appeared in three short videos, made four social media posts and put a profile on a government website.

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Industry report questions relevance of VET qualifications system

Industry report questions relevance of VET qualifications system
National employer association, Ai Group, has released a report that calls for reform of the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) system suggesting a new model (not necessarily singular) is required that can deliver ‘immediacy of utility’ and ‘deeper development of knowledge and sustainable skills’.

VET Summit being held to examine issues in the sector

VET Summit being held to examine issues in the sector
The VET Policy and Compliance Summit 2020 is being held at Rydges World Square Sydney between 9 to 11 March. The event will focus on “Transforming VET: Supporting quality outcomes for employers and learners”. ASQA’s Chief Commissioner, Saxon Rice is speaking at the event delivering a session called “ASQA’s Priorities and Challenges for 2020”. Access to the full summit program, speaker biographies and registration options is available here

Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reform Roadmap

In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed on a vision for vocational education and training (VET) to position the sector as responsive, dynamic and trusted. To deliver on this vision, COAG tasked Skills Council with developing a VET Reform Roadmap (the Roadmap). Skills Council has asked senior officials in all jurisdictions to work together to develop a Roadmap for consideration by Ministers and endorsement by COAG by the middle of 2020. Skills officials have developed a consultation draft of the Roadmap. This draft is a working document of the Skills Senior Officials’ Network; it has not been reviewed or endorsed by governments or COAG.

VET Student Loan Caps Lifted

Industry Sector/s —
Vocational Education & Training

Summary —

The Australian Government has announced that the VET Student Loan limits have been increased for a number of courses, with the changes scheduled to come into effect from today, 29 January 2020. More than one hundred courses have seen the VET Student Loan cap increase, reflecting advocacy undertaken by ITECA and other stakeholders to ensure students have access to loans that more closely reflect the cost of delivery.

Key Issues —

The VET Student Loans program assists eligible students pay tuition fees for approved higher-level (diploma and above) vocational education and training (VET) courses, when studying at approved course providers.

The Australian Government assesses whether a course is eligible for a VET Student Loan and the maximum loan cap for that course. There have been some expected removals and additions to the eligible courses; however, of considerable interest is the increase in the loan cap for a number of courses.

Removals —

There were sixteen courses removed from the list that are now non-current, deleted, or have been superseded for more than twelve months. These were in areas including racing services, industrial design, food processing, geosciences and seafood processing. Existing VSL students can continue to be taught-out (and access VSL) in accordance with the regulatory standards.

Additions —

There have been twenty-two courses added to the list as now meeting the VSL criteria: being either on at least two state and territory subsidy/skills lists; a STEM related course; or required by a jurisdiction for licensing purposes for a particular occupation. These courses are in areas including electrotechnology project management, horticultural science, local government, and water industry operations. Replacement courses for previous superseded or non-current courses have also been added to the list and these make up the majority of the additions.

Changes In Loan Caps —

More than one hundred courses will experience an increase in the loan caps, in some cases for specific providers. Several principles have been applied to identify courses to move up one cap band. Loan caps were moved where program data for completed VSL students indicated the cap was not sufficient to cover at least 80 per cent of full fee paying students. Loan caps were moved up a band to at least match the states and territories’ price for subsidised students since, by definition, states cannot subsidise by more than the full fee cost of a course. Courses have not been moved in cases where there was either insufficient evidence from VSL program data or a lack of state and territory price and subsidy information.

The full list of changes was published by the Australian Government on 28 January 2020, taking effect from 29 January; the changes can be downloaded from:

VSL Provider Information —

The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) supported a number of members that made direct representations to government when the VSL loan cap were heavily mismatched against the price of delivery. It is pleasing to see that there was an increase in the VSL cap in most of these cases.

In November 2019, COAG Skills Ministers announced a review of VET Student Loans that will examine scope for greater parity of access for students across Australia taking into account state subsidy arrangements and alternative higher education options. These issues will be discussed at the 2020 Vocational Education & Training Business Summit to be held on 7 February 2020 in Sydney. Information is available online at:

ITECA Event Information —

The COAG review of VET Student Loans will be completed in April 2020 and inform future changes to the program in alignment with broader VET Reform work underway. The next update to the VSL course list is scheduled for January 2021.

The VET Student Loans program is of considerable interest to the independent tertiary education sector. As the ITECA State of The Sector Report notes, independent providers support more than 58% of the students undertaking a VET Diploma or higher qualification.

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