Morrison government encourages Australians to ditch university plans and take up a trade

The Morrison government says it wants to end “job snobbery” by encouraging thousands of young Australians to ditch plans for university and take up a trade instead.

The change in message comes as the government confronts big shortages in some vital blue collar jobs.

Watch the video above

In 2008, more than a quarter of a million Australians began their apprenticeship but by last year, the number of new apprentices had all but halved.

A government list of the fifty highest earning jobs, shows thirty one are the product of vocational training, not a degree.

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The government’s top example: construction managers earn almost $3,500 a week.

The major parties blame one another for Australia’s skills shortage.

SOURCEAAP:https://7news.com.au/business/morrison-government-encourages-australians-to-ditch-university-plans-and-take-up-a-trade-c-478753

Seek ploughs $142m into online courseware

“Micro-credentialing to meet evolving labour market needs”.

Online job marketplace Seek has pounced on two leading international online courseware suppliers to the tune of $142 million as the Australian headquartered body shop ramps-up its diversification push into employment-related learning and development.

Seek ploughs $142m into online courseware

The company on Monday told the Australian Securities Exchange it had forked out $92 million for a 50 percent stake in FutureLearn alongside a $50 million purchase of a “minority interest” in Coursera with the twin transactions cited as “primary raisings with proceeds used to accelerate growth”.

“FutureLearn and Coursera are global leaders in online education each of which have a proven track record in educating millions of learners and partnering with world class education institutions,” Seek’s chief executive and co-Founder Andrew Bassat said.

“Both businesses are leveraged to structural trends such as migration of education online and in helping millions of people to adapt to evolving labour markets

“The long-term opportunity is to significantly increase accessibility of ‘career ready’ education to the rapidly growing pool of learners.”

The buys come as the online employment marketplace becomes increasingly crowded and commoditised, forcing market heavyweights to reach deeper down into the employment pipeline by trying to clip the ticket on skills and credentials employers want in employees.

While the latest acquisitions are broad qualification and education plays, the gun segment in the sector remains technology skills with many employers now looking to upskill or reskill existing staff in the face of protracted skills shortages for specialists like cyber security staff and some kinds of developers.

Technology megavendors have also piled into the employment market, most notably Microsoft which snapped-up LinkedIn for US$26 billion in 2016, a transaction that many expect will result in the software behemoth developing its own recruitment vertical by eventually roping in its Teams collaboration play.

Bassat is talking-up the latest buy as an opportunity to snatch international leadership in the online education market.

“FutureLearn has already invested significant capital to build a leading online education platform. It is operating on a large scale and is a trusted partner to 150+ education and specialist institutions and 9 [million] learners. Alongside founding shareholder Open University, SEEK is excited to play an active role to commercialise FutureLearn,” the Seek CEO said.

“Proceeds from SEEK’s investment will be used to grow a number of new courses linked to employment outcomes, online marketing, initiatives to grow the student experience and overall retention. FutureLearn is a unique opportunity to build a global market leader and if we execute well the long-term upside is significant.”

Seek told investors it estimates the new acquisitions “partner with world class higher education institutions and global businesses and have attracted a combined c49 million learners.”

SourceAAP:www.itnews.com.au

Paying back your HELP or HECS student debt, explained

An illustration shows a ball with "student debt" written on it chained to a person's leg to depict paying back HECS debt.

IMAGEWhile it might feel like a burden, taking on debt to study often pays off in the long run. But it’s important to understand the nature of the debt.(ABC Life: Luke Tribe)

So, buckle up: we’re going to go deep into world of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), which some of you might know by its former name, HECS. We’ll cover vocational education and training (VET) student loans too, which are part of the HELP program.

If you’ve been putting this off for a while, here’s your opportunity to tick off some life admin.

How student debt works in Australia

If you’re an eligible student in an eligible university course or vocational training program, you can access the Higher Education Loan Program (if you’re at university) or the VET student loan program (if you’re at TAFE or another vocational training provider).

When it comes to eligibility, there are a number of rules, but generally speaking you need to be an Australian citizen, hold a New Zealand special category visa or hold a permanent humanitarian visa. The StudyAssist website has a handy tool if you’re not sure whether you qualify.

HELP works like this:

  • Your tuition fees will be charged to your student debt immediately after the census date: a point in the study term when enrolments are finalised. (For university courses, it’s usually a few weeks into the semester.) If you’re enrolled in subject or course after the census date, you’ll rack up a debt for it — even if you don’t finish it (say you withdraw) or get your qualification.
  • You’re required to start paying back your debt once you earn above a certain amount. (For this year, it’s $51,957 before tax.) The more you earn, the more you’re required to pay back. You can also make voluntary repayments at any time. We’ll expand on this in detail soon.
  • When you earn enough to make repayments, they’ll be made through the tax system. If you’re an employee, some of your pay will be withheld by your employer to cover your repayments. (You don’t actually pay anything off until you file your tax return.) If you’re self-employed, you pay once you’ve filed your tax return.

Wondering how much debt you have? You can find out online (using the ATO service on MyGov) or by ringing the tax office on 13 28 61.

The difference between interest and indexation

While no-one likes debt, studying is usually a great investment because it can help you earn more income. University graduates, for instance, can earn more than $800,000 more than school leavers over a lifetime.

On top of that, there are two factors that make HELP debt more attractive than other loans. The first is that, unlike a loan for a car or a house, HELP debt doesn’t attract interest.

In other words, you don’t pay the government for the privilege of borrowing — which is a very good thing, says chartered accountant and independent financial adviser Stephanie O’Connor.

HELP debt is, however, “indexed to inflation”. Confused? It simply means that the debt is raised each year in line with the cost of living. Last year, the indexation rate was 1.9 per cent.

The second reason HELP debt is better than regular debt is that there’s no deadline to repay it. While you can’t avoid paying it once you earn enough money, you’re not forced to pay off the balance in a rush.

“If you owe the tax office money, you certainly don’t get those terms. The tax office will charge you interest, and they’ll want to collect the debt very quickly.”

How much will you repay?

The amount you have to repay is calculated as a portion of your income before tax. Here’s the repayment rates for the year to June 30, 2019.

SourceAAP:www.abc.net.au