Small businesses in SA can access up to $5000 for every new apprentice or trainee hired on a paid training contract, as well as advice on how to address a business’ skills and training needs and access subsidies under the new Skills for Business scheme.
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.”
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.
Business owners, industry representatives, training providers and learners are being encouraged to take part in a review of the Training and Skills Development Act 2008 to shape the future of South Australia’s training system.
The State Government is ensuring South Australia is equipped with a skilled workforce and a review of the state’s training legislation is an important component of broader training reforms being implemented, including through the $203 million Skilling South Australia program.
Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said feedback from stakeholders will help to overhaul the outdated Training and Skills Development Act 2008.
“A modern training system requires an adaptive framework that streamlines operations and makes it easier for South Australian businesses to employ an apprentice or trainee,” Minister Pisoni said.
The review is in line with key recommendations in the Training and Skills Commission’s Skills for Future Jobs 2020 Series: Future-proofing the Apprenticeship and Traineeship System report released today.
“Extensive stakeholder consultation undertaken last year by the Training and Skills Commission revealed the desire for simpler and more responsive legislation, lower costs and less red tape.
“In addition to the State Government’s training reforms that are already underway, I will continue to work towards the recommendations outlined in the Future-proofing the Apprenticeship and Traineeship System report to repair, reform, support, promote and advance South Australia’s training system.”
Feedback on the review of the Training and Skills Development Act 2008 is sought through yourSAy over the next four weeks.
“I encourage anyone involved in employing, training, studying or accessing vocational education and training to join the conversation to ensure South Australia has a robust system responsive to the needs of business, and which will underpin the development of a skilled workforce to meet the demands of growth industries,” Minister Pisoni said.
“This is an essential step in our objective to create more than 20,800 additional apprenticeships and traineeships over four years through the Skilling South Australia initiative to support more South Australians into meaningful, long-term careers.”
Training and Skills Commission Chair Michael Boyce said he is is pleased the State Government is acting on expert advice and continuing to revitalise South Australia’s training sector.
“After months of research and consultation, I am pleased to present the Commission’s findings on the apprenticeship and traineeship system,” Mr Boyce said.
“I encourage interested parties to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to modernise the Act and tailor the state’s training framework to your specific needs.”
The state’s Training Advocate Renee Hindmarsh said the review of the Act is essential to align with current and future workforce needs.
“The review is needed to ensure South Australia maintains relevant and up-to-date legislation, which responds to the training needs of enterprises and their employees and I look forward to the next steps,” Ms Hindmarsh said.
To provide your feedback, go to yourSAy before submissions close on Wednesday 19 June 2019.