TAFE SA wins vote of confidence from national regulator

In a massive win for South Australian industry and job seekers, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has granted TAFE SA the maximum seven-year registration as a national VET Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for local and international students.

It is the first time that TAFE SA has ever received this length of registration.

This tick of approval from the national regulator represents a significant step towards TAFE SA’s goal of becoming known as a benchmark for high-quality vocational education in South Australia.

Applications for the renewal of RTO registration are rigorously assessed by ASQA and are granted for two, five or the maximum seven years.

ASQA has also registered TAFE SA on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRISCOS) for the next seven years.

Education Minister John Gardner said the announcement represents a significant milestone in rebuilding TAFE SA into the quality vocational training provider that South Australians deserve.

“Today’s announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the Government’s policy direction, as outlined in our Fresh Start for TAFE SA,” said Minister Gardner.

“South Australian industry and job seekers can now go forward with enhanced confidence that TAFE SA is delivering high quality training that meets the standards required and industry needs.

“This is a very positive outcome for TAFE SA which would not have been achieved without the dedication and commitment of staff across the organisation to implement a new quality framework.

“TAFE SA remain committed to maintaining ongoing quality measures and the Government has put in place radically improved structures and oversight to ensure TAFE SA continues to deliver on its fresh start.

“This seven-year registration demonstrates that the Government’s commitment to TAFE SA and their efforts in improving compliance has not gone unnoticed.”

TAFE SA Chief Executive David Coltman said that the positive response to the registration renewal was a strong show of confidence in the improvements that have been made across TAFE SA.

“This is a really positive outcome for TAFE SA and a vote of confidence in the extensive quality improvements that have been implemented across all of our programs,” said Mr Coltman.

“TAFE SA has embarked on a fresh start, we are committed to providing quality outcomes for students and working closely with industry, and this seven-year registration confirms that we are on the right path.

“Staff across TAFE SA have worked tirelessly to ensure all of our education and training services are compliant, and at the standard that students, industry and the community deserve.

“We are at the first stage of the journey, we are focused on continuous improvement and we will continue to develop high quality and innovative training that responds to student and industry needs.

“At TAFE SA, we will continue to ensure that our education and training services meet the standards of all relevant regulatory bodies and that it plays an important role in building the South Australian workforce for the future.”

/Public News. View in full here.

More TAFE funding answer to reversing VET decline

The best way to reverse the fall in enrolments at government-funded vocational education providers is to restore funding to TAFE and return it to being the primary provider of vocational education in Australia.

According to a new report by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), student numbers, subject enrolments and training hours at public vocational training providers all fell in 2018.

AEU Federal TAFE Secretary Maxine Sharkey said that the Morrison Government’s obsession with private vocational education providers at the expense of TAFE was already hurting the career prospects of thousands of Australians who need access to affordable and high quality vocation education.

“TAFE is one of the crown jewels of the Australian education system. However, it’s clear that years of funding cuts and official disinterest by successive Federal Coalition governments have left TAFE, our world-class publicly-owned vocational education provider, in a weakened state,” Ms Sharkey said.

“This has resulted in falling student numbers and TAFE campus closures. The solution is quite simple. We need a strong public TAFE sector that is fully funded.”

According to the NCVER figures, in 2018, compared with 2017:

  • estimated student numbers decreased by 1.9%
  • subject enrolments decreased by 5.7%
  • hours and full-year training equivalents (FYTEs) decreased by 6.4%

The figures also reveal that since 2013, the year the Federal Coalition was elected, the number of students in government-funded vocational education has fallen by 25%, from 1.48 million to 1.1 million. In addition, the number of hours of vocational education delivered has fallen by 28% between 2013 and 2018.

“The introduction of private-for profit education providers has been a disaster for Australia’s vocational education system,” Ms Sharkey said.

“History has shown that private providers aren’t interested in quality education – they are interested in profits.”

“The private sector’s idea of VET-sector competition is to drive down costs and standards and drive the ‘competition’ (read TAFE) out of business. Then it can jack up its prices and force students to pay through the nose,” Ms Sharkey said.

“The Australian Skills Quality Authority, the Government’s own regulator, said parts of the Australian training market are already in a race to the bottom. The Productivity Commission has described the Australian VET system as a mess.”

Ms Sharkey said that TAFE must remain a strong public provider of vocational education in Australia. She called upon the Morrison Government to:

  • Guarantee a minimum of 70% government funding to the public TAFE system. In addition, no public funding should go to private for-profit providers, consistent with other education sectors.
  • Restore funding and rebuild the TAFE system, to restore confidence in the quality of the courses and qualifications and the institution.
  • Abandon the failed student loans experiment, and cancel the debts of all students caught up in private for-profit provider scams.
  • Re-invest in the TAFE teaching workforce and develop a future-focused TAFE workforce development strategy in collaboration with the profession and unions.
  • Develop a capital investment strategy in consultation with state governments, to address the deplorable state of TAFE facilities around the country.
  • Support a comprehensive independent inquiry into TAFE.

“Any proposal which undermines the importance of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments working together to build a strong, vibrant, fully funded public TAFE will be fiercely opposed by the AEU,” Ms Sharkey said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Marshall Govt’s VET plan will privatise TAFE by stealth

The Marshall Government’s new VET plan shows it is determined to sell South Australia’s TAFE system to the highest bidder and allow private training providers to line their own pockets at the expense of TAFE students.

The plan will give profit-seeking private training providers access to TAFE SA sites at the same time that TAFE budgets in South Australia are being slashed.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe warned other states and territories not to follow suit, saying it would severely impact the ability of Australians to access affordable, high-quality vocational education. She said it would leave hundreds of thousands of trainees and apprentices across Australia at the mercy of profit-seeking private training providers.

“The Marshall Government’s agenda on vocational education is clear. It plans to wash its hands of responsibility for VET by privatising TAFE SA and allowing private training providers to line their pockets at the expense of students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“It’s clear that big business is aligning with Liberal governments at both a state and federal level in a push to squeeze TAFE out completely and hand responsibility for vocational education to private providers.”

“The private sector’s idea of VET-sector competition is to drive down costs and standards and drive the ‘competition’-that means TAFE-out of business. Then it can jack up prices and force students to pay through the nose,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“TAFE is one of the crown jewels of the Australian education system. It has proudly provided vocational education for generations of Australians in everything from plumbing to nursing, childcare and IT.”

“The Marshall Government’s plan is a poorly-disguised bid by private training providers to line their own pockets at the expense of TAFE by hiding behind words like ‘choice’ and competition’,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe said that the Marshall Government’s new plan was the culmination of a years-long campaign to slash budgets and government support for TAFE SA:

  • SA government-funded VET student numbers have reduced from 150,000 in 2013 to just 63,000 in 2017
  • The SA Government’s total recurrent VET funding contribution has been cut by 40% since 2013, with recurrent VET expenditure per person now the second lowest in the country (after NSW)
  • Thirteen TAFE SA campuses have closed and more than 700 jobs have been lost, while moreTAFE campuses were earmarked for closure in the 2018 state budget

Ms Haythorpe said the moves by the Marshall Government to marginalise TAFE SA and favour private training providers were reflected nationally.

“Despite the clear and undisputed benefits that a robustly funded and administered public TAFE and vocational education sector provides our economy and our society, there has been a concerted and continual drive from successive Coalition governments to marginalise vocational education and deprioritise TAFE,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“This anti-TAFE push is gathering speed. In its first Federal Budget the Morrison Government included no additional specified funding for TAFE-amazingly, it failed to mention TAFE at all.”

“History has shown that private providers aren’t interested in quality education. ITECA represents profit-seeking private education providers and is focused on taking government TAFE funding and giving it to private providers,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe said that TAFE must remain a strong public provider of vocational education in Australia. She called upon the Morrison Government to:

  • Guarantee a minimum of 70% government funding to the public TAFE system. In addition, no public funding should go to private for-profit providers, consistent with other education sectors.
  • Restore funding and rebuild the TAFE system, to restore confidence in the quality of the courses and qualifications and the institution.
  • Abandon the failed student loans experiment, and cancel the debts of all students caught up in private for-profit provider scams.
  • Re-invest in the TAFE teaching workforce and develop a future-focused TAFE workforce development strategy in collaboration with the profession and unions.
  • Develop a capital investment strategy in consultation with state governments, to address the deplorable state of TAFE facilities around the country.
  • Support a comprehensive independent inquiry into TAFE.

“Any proposal which undermines the importance of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments working together to build a strong, vibrant, fully funded public TAFE will be fiercely opposed by the AEU,” Ms Haythorpe said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Ai Group welcomes focus on VET to drive economy

“Senator Michaelia Cash has today drawn a welcome line in the sand in placing vocational education and training on the same footing as higher education,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“Australian industry is acutely aware that our transforming economy needs workers with the skills and capabilities developed through both sectors if we are to compete globally.

“Senator Cash’s speech at the National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference recognises that the VET system is critical to ensuring industry has the skilled workforce it needs to grow and to compete internationally. It provides the technicians, the tradespeople, the supervisors and the para-professionals that are needed in an Australian workforce adapting to new technologies and higher-level skills and capabilities.

“Digitalisation is transforming the economy and disrupting skill needs. Employers are facing significant skills shortages, particularly for technicians and trades with STEM capabilities, reflecting the changing tasks and jobs being created as new technologies enter all industry sectors. As with higher education, VET is under pressure to develop people with higher order STEM skills and broad enterprise skills for the digital economy. At the same time, it must develop the workers for occupations with innate people skills, such as the growing Community and Personal Services sector.

“Equally welcome is Senator Cash’s call for the VET system to better connect with industry and to have clear, consistent funding. Ai Group maintains that industry must have a stronger role at all levels to work through the current challenges dogging the system. We have previously highlighted that the funding of the VET system is inadequate, in terms of both the level and composition and its resourcing relative to both the higher education and school sectors.

“Ai Group has welcomed the recommendations of the Joyce Review, notably the implementation of a National Skills Commission, the National Careers Institute, apprenticeship reform and the pilot Skills Organisations. All these reforms strengthen VET, ensuring that industry is at the heart of the system that will be vital to develop skills for our future workforce.

“While we welcome the Government’s $525 million skills and training package, seeking amongst other measures to create up to 80,000 new apprentices, Ai Group is keen to work with the Government to implement broader reform. More can and must be done to:

  • align skills from education and training outcomes with industry needs through improved skills forecasting;
  • address critical workforce STEM skills shortages through education and skills training and funding for initiatives that enhance the VET sector’s role in filling these gaps, such as Ai Group’s Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeships;
  • review apprenticeship incentives, placing greater priority on high-skill occupations that will play key roles in the digital economy. In particular we call on the Government to extend the doubling of Commonwealth Employers Incentives to the engineering trades to ensure adequate trade skill development for the large defence procurement and ship building program and the supply chain;
  • support industry to develop workforce plans around their digital strategies, assess existing workers’ capabilities and train when necessary;
  • improve the foundational language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills of entrants to the workforce;
  • increase work-based and work integrated learning models underpinned by closer partnerships between industry and the education and training sector.

“Many of the challenges facing the VET sector are equally those that higher education faces. Ai Group believes there can be greater coherence between VET and higher education which would benefit the nation. Ai Group’s position paper, Realising Potential: solving Australia’s tertiary education, identifies the challenges and makes recommendations for post-secondary education in Australia.

“If the Australian economy is to continue to prosper and remain internationally competitive, it is vital to have access to a highly skilled and qualified workforce. With the rapid advance of technology and digitalisation, a higher level of skills for the workforce is more important than ever,” Mr Willox said.

/Public Release. View in full here.
SourceAAP:https://www.miragenews.com/ai-group-welcomes-focus-on-vet-to-drive-economy/

This Saturday is chance to restore TAFE funding in Australia

Under the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison government’s TAFE institution across the nation have been under attack.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman reminded Queenslanders of their chance to restore training opportunities in Australia as they head to the voting booth on Saturday.

“So far the LNP in Canberra have presided over more than $3 billion in cuts to TAFE and training,” Ms Fentiman said.

:They are no different to the Queensland LNP that cut $82.4 million from the training budget and sacked more than 2100 TAFE Queensland staff, discontinuing TAFE course and closing or selling campuses.”

The impact of these cuts have been highlighted today by the Queensland Audit Report intoEducation: 2017–18 results of audits.

The impact of Commonwealth unfair student loan system and cuts to training programs for 2017-18 alone was over $27 million and included:

  • $18.6 million reduction from students accessing Commonwealth Government VET Student Loans
  • $7.1 million cut from the Commonwealth Adult Migrant English Program; and
  • $1.7 million cut from the Commonwealth Skills for Education and Employment program.

“Saturday’s Federal Election is a chance for State’s like Queensland to gain an ally in the effort to repair and fix this damage,” she said.

“Only Bill Shorten and Labor are prepared to provide Queensland TAFE with its fair share of support.

“Only Federal Labour have promised to review all post school education and training funding and address the unfair student loan system operating for TAFE.

“In addition, only Federal Labor has committed $1 billion dollars in vocational education and training including 100,000 Free TAFE places and $330 million to deliver 150,000 apprenticeship subsidies in areas with skills shortages.”

“Federal Labor is also prepared to work with us on TAFE and has committed $200 million towards helping the states build TAFEs for the future.

“This has included investment in TAFEs at Cairns, Townsville, Logan, Mt Gravatt, Acacia Ridge, Whitsundays, Bowen, Redcliffe AND a new TAFE trades training centre at North Lakes.”

Despite federal funding cuts, with the support of the Palaszczuk Government TAFE Queensland has continued to achieving results

TAFE Queensland continues to be the largest provider of education and training in Queensland, delivering training to over 120,000 students in 2017–18 across more than 530 programs.

“Strengthened by its online and international delivery, no other provider can match TAFE Queensland for scale and location options,” Ms Fentiman said.

“TAFE QLD ensures high quality outcomes for students and employers – more than 85% of students are employed or in further study after completing their course.”

“With a Federal Labor Government partnering with us we can achieve much more.”

/Public Release. View in full here.
SourceAAP:www.miragenews.com

Monash Commission recommends a new model for tertiary education for all Australians

The Monash Commission has released its vision for post-compulsory education with three transforming recommendations for the future.

Among them are the introduction of a universal learning entitlement, supported by income contingent loans, and a ‘Lifetime Learning Account’ for all Australians to help students track, credit and verify their training. Each student would have a universal student number to cover all publicly subsidised education and training across their lifetime.

In conducting its inquiry, the Monash Commission canvassed research from scholars, conducted interviews with a wide range of industry representatives, students, and leaders of educational institutions, and tested its recommendations with key individuals who have worked at the forefront of post-compulsory education.

Chair of the Monash Commission, Elizabeth Proust, said the Commission has started a community-wide conversation about the importance of lifelong learning.

“The Commission’s vision for the post-compulsory education system in Australia is one that provides adaptable, capable global citizens who are both job-ready and resilient in dealing with change.”

The inquiry found that while 56 per cent of Australians 15 years and older hold some sort of post-school qualification, 90 per cent of new jobs created by 2023 are expected to require a Certificate II or higher, which will leave many working Australians with poor employment prospects.

To effectively address these concerns, the Commission advocates for major funding reform in the sector, including separate funding pools for research and education, and calling for education and all research to be fully funded by the state and federal governments.

The Commission also recommends the establishment of a statutory agency for post-compulsory education and training, which would advise government and control funding across the sector. It would be the single funding authority distributing the allocated budget for all state, territory and Commonwealth subsidised post-compulsory education.

Monash University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the Commission’s findings highlight that in coming decades, Australia’s prosperity will increasingly depend on the relevance of workers’ education and skills, and that no-one should be left behind.

“Access, at any time in one’s career, to relevant and high quality education is critical to Australia’s future. Education inspires citizens to build the future they want, and respond to the continually evolving set of skills needed to maintain a healthy and prosperous society,” Professor Gardner said.

What is the Monash Commission

Formed in April 2018, the Monash Commission brings together Australian and international leaders who are driving policy discussion and decisions.

The Monash Commission is conducting a series of in-depth inquiries that capture the best available evidence and public perspectives to effect major change on vital matters.

The Report ‘Three Recommendations for Renewal of Post-Compulsory Education in Australia’, is the response to the first enquiry into post-secondary education conducted by the Monash Commission.

This was led by industry leader Ms Elizabeth Proust AO, Immediate past Chair of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Nestle Australia and Bank of Melbourne.

She was joined by:

· Professor Ian Chubb AC – former Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University and Flinders University, and former Chief Scientist

· Marie Persson – former Chair, NSW Skills Board Industry Reference Group, and former head of NSW TAFE and Community Education

· Professor Rory Hume – Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Education, and Dean of Dentistry at the University of Utah

· Mette Schepers – Mercer Australia’s client growth leader for the Pacific market, and financial and professional services executive

· Sir Nigel Thrift – former Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick, and former Executive Director of the prestigious Schwarzmann Scholars international leadership program

/Public Release.
SourceAAP:www.miragenews.com