Well, last VET News for the year! It has been a busy year for us and I am sure for you. The New Year will bring three significant development in our sector. New RTO standards will be introduced, the unique student identifier becomes mandatory from the 1st Jan and total VET activity reporting will also commence with the first report due by 28th Feb. These developments have certainly added to our work over the last 4-6 months. I am pleased to say that our systems have now all been fully updated to cater for these changes. We will do a bug fix update for RTO Data in the second week of Jan which will cap off that work and provide our users a very robust capability.
In December 2013, I mentioned some developments at Newbery Consulting which would occur this year. One of these was the offering of our fully designed and developed course assessment packages for select qualifications. We have done that with four packages available and more to come in 2015. These have been hugely popular with clients experiencing excellent results at audit and cost effective solutions to get courses to market quicker with a quality outcomes focus.
I also mentioned that we would be entering the VET professional development market. I am pleased to announce that in February 2015 we will commence delivery of the Diploma of Training Design and Development. This will be offered in a blended mode and targeted at building the internal development capabilities of our clients. Workshops’ and Webinars’ will also be open to all as professional development opportunities. This is an exciting new service for us and one which perfectly aligns with our objective to “Support the VET Sector”. We see a continuing erosion of the skills in our sector to design and develop quality training and assessment. This is without doubt the main source of compliance issues that auditors confront. Designing training is something that we specialise in and are respected for. It makes sense that we need to pass this on to our clients and others.
Of course with the decision to register our own RTO, I have personally needed to withdraw from my contract with ASQA as a Lead Auditor. This was a decision a long time in the making for me but now it is done, I am very happy that we have added value to the services we provide clients and our existing services will not be diminished. We will continue to offer audit services to other agencies and our clients and will ensure these audit services remain as informed as ever.
I have worked for three VET regulators as a Lead Auditor over the last eight years. These included NARA, VETAB and ASQA. I enjoyed the work and the professionalism of my audit colleagues. I have completed many audits some of which were fairly interesting!! I’d have to say my favourite regulator was VETAB. They had a good crew of Staff and Contract Auditors, good processes and respect for your contribution. NARA was also a good regulator. NARA easily had the best auditor moderation program I have experienced. ASQA could learn a lot by reflecting on how NARA supported their auditors to make consistent reliable audit decisions. I certainly wish my colleagues at ASQA all the best (many of who are subscribers).
The other exciting thing we have occurring in 2015 is our 10th birthday. In Oct 2015, Newbery Consulting has been operating for 10 years. This is a significant milestone in any business and one which I am very proud to have achieved. We now have seven permanent staff and are supported by some great contract staff and consultants. We will be doing a number of things throughout the year to celebrate, one of which is sponsoring the National VET Conference being staged this year in Adelaide in association with VELG Training. We are looking forward to that and Sarah who is returning from maternity leave this week will lead our planning and build-up to that conference in September 2015. You will also see the roll-out of our new web-based learning management system. This system will link with RTO Data to provide our users a fully functional learning management system on which to offer blended learning and assessment. This will be a great capability and should be ready in Feb/Mar 2015.
Sorry, I know this is a long one,,, I cannot leave without mentioning the Smart and Skilled disaster. I have been following the emails of Brian Beattie from ATS Training Systems who has been selflessly doing the work to gather information and represent RTOs who have been impacted by this very poorly handled government tender. Brian has now set up a website to provide a platform to register your interest and sign a petition. You can access this website at the following link: Click Here. Many RTOs will not survive the outcomes of this tender which appears to have been decided by a computer without reference to the actual achievements of RTOs. The NSW government should hang their head in shame and those responsible in the Department should really reflect on the damage they have done to the VET sector in NSW. The winners out of the tender are TAFE. It does seem strange for a liberal government to be killing off a diversified private industry in favour of a stronger public service,, but there you have it. I will stay on this and urge you to register your interest at the above website. I would also just like to say well done to Brian Beattie for being the champion of the private RTO sector.
Well, thats it from us for 2014. We will be closed over the period 22 Dec 2014 – 2 Jan 2015. We wish you all a safe and merry Christmas.
Enjoy the news and good training!
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Compliance and Regulatory News
Transition to new Standards. ASQA has developed a strategy for transitioning to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.
Here are the critical dates for when the Standards will come into effect:
- New RTO—initial application received from 1 January 2015 – 1 January 2015
- New RTO—initial application received before 1 January 2015 – 1 April 2015
- All other RTOs – 1 April 2015
- All RTOs (Clause 3.6 only—USI requirements) – 1 January 2015
Read the full strategy at the link below where you will also find a link to MAPPING INFORMATION that compares the new Standards for RTOs to the SNRs.
ASQA launches website for new Standards. ASQA has launched a new website providing detailed information about the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the website demonstrates ASQA’s commitment to providing enhanced information and guidance for RTOs to assist them in complying with the standards.
The site is a navigable version of ASQA’s User’s Guide to the Standards and can be accessed at the following link.
RTO information session presentations are now available. Presentations from ASQA’s RTO Information Sessions are now available to view and download at the link below. The presentations include:
- The first three years of national VET regulation
- 2015 registered training organisations (RTOs) standards
- VET regulatory reform, delegations and transition arrangements
- Assessment workshop – including assessment practices, validation and industry engagement
- Marketing and advertising workshop – including accurate and factual marketing and marketing by subcontractors
- Third party arrangements workshop – including managing risks with these arrangements and monitoring agreements
- Skills for All, South Australia VET
- Smart and Skilled, NSW VET reform
- VET in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Statement regarding Vocation Group. ASQA has published a statement in order to provide clarity regarding the interactions with Vocation RTOs and the National VET Regulator. Read the statement at the link below.
Annual RTO registration fee. ASQA has issued a reminder that once an RTO commences a registration period approved by ASQA, it will be required to pay ASQA’s annual RTO registration fees. See the following link for details.
Initial external delegation offers have been issued. In line with a VET Reform initiative, ASQA recently invited 555 RTOs with a strong history of compliance to apply for a delegation of regulatory responsibility. Delegates will be able to add new VET qualifications or units of competency to their scope of registration without having to submit an application and paying a fee to ASQA each time they make a change. Read more at the following link.
Course accreditation resources. Whilst there have been no changes to the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012, ASQA has recently enhanced the course template. A new form is also available to allow owners of accredited courses to advise ASQA of any changes to the contact details for the ‘copyright holder’ and ‘content enquiries’ contacts that are published on TGA. Course accreditation resources can be found at the following link.
COAG Industry and Skills Council update
The COAG Industry and Skills Council, chaired by the Hon Ian Macfarlane, MP, Australian Government Minister for Industry, met for the second time on 26 September 2014. At the meeting it was announced that a consumer hotline to ‘streamline and simplify the reporting of complaints’ would be put in place. The Australian Government will lead the hotline initiative. The Ministers’ Communique explained the process was a mechanism to step-up action against poor quality providers.
Ministers also pledged to support further work on apprenticeship harmonisation, the revised standards for registered training providers and regulators, a review of training packages and accredited courses and streamlining data reporting for training providers. Access the Communiqué at the following link.
NCVER Data Support Bulletin
The latest on AVETMISS requirements is provided in the NCVER’s December Data Support Bulletin. It covers:
- Classification and validation updates
- A reminder about reporting
- A link to a new video tutorial to guide you through the validation process
- Information on a range of new fact sheets.
Access the bulletin at the following link.
NCVER Data Support Bulletin – December 2014
TAC Secretariat Relocation. On Monday 17 November 2014 the TAC Secretariat moved to new premises at Level 9, 20 Walters Drive, Osborne Park. The postal addresses and telephone numbers for the TAC Secretariat will remain unchanged.
Strategic Industry Audit of VET in Schools: Report now available. The final report for this Strategic Industry Audit is now available at the following link.
Training Package News
Recent Training Package endorsements/updates
- CHC Community Services – Release 1.3 – 12 November 2014
- RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry – Release 1.4 – 7 December 2014
For detailed release information go to http://training.gov.au/
Industry consultation closing soon for Training Package Development
Submissions close on 24 December 2014 for the Industry Engagement in Training Package Development – Towards a Contestable Model Discussion Paper. Go to the link below if you want to have your say.
Some Advanced Diplomas to be removed from the Health Training Package
Following a unanimous recommendation from the Training Package Advisory Committee, the CS&HISC Board has made the decision to remove the Advanced Diplomas of Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Nutritional Medicine and Western Herbal Medicine from the Health Training Package in December 2015 with no extension. Read more at the link below.
Events, Resources & Funding News
Australian apprenticeship & traineeship update
Click on the links below to view the Training Package qualifications recently implemented in States and Territories.
New Smart and Skilled website
A new Smart and Skilled website is now available with resources and tools for students and employers. The website features an Eligibility Checker and a Course Finder, which enables students to find a Smart and Skilled course and approved training provider that meets their needs, as well as calculate their estimated fee. Access the website at:
Strong take-up of Trade Support Loans by apprentices
A total of 9,500 apprentices have taken up loans over the past three months under the federal government’s new Trade Support Loans program.
In a media release, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane noted “These figures are further proof that our comprehensive, industry-focussed reforms to skills and training as part of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda are making an impact.” See the full media release at the link below.
Australian Training Awards winners
The Australian Training Awards were held in Adelaide on Friday, 21 November 2014, Check out the winners at the link below.
Other News of Interest
Higher education reform defeated in the Senate
As reported by ABC News, the Senate has rejected the Federal Government’s push to deregulate universities. The Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014 was voted down 33 votes to 31 on 2 December 2014. Read the ABC news article at the link below.
In a media release on 3 December 2014, ACPET responded to the defeat of the higher education reforms saying that it is a “major blow for low SES and regional students across Australia.” Read the media release at the following link.
New higher education reform bill introduced
On 3 December 2014 the Minister for Education, Mr Christopher Pyne MP, introduced the Higher Education and Research Reform Bill 2014. In his second reading of the Bill, Mr Pyne highlighted the following changes:
- The withdrawal of the proposal to change the indexation of student debt from the CPI rate to the 10-year Treasury bond rate.
- A pause on HECS indexation for primary carers of a child under five.
- A structural adjustment fund to assist universities to transition to a more competitive market, particularly those in regional areas.
- A new scholarship fund within the Higher Education and Participation Program for universities with high proportions of low-SES students.
- A guarantee that domestic students’ fees are lower than international students’ fees.
Read the Minister’s full second reading speech at the following link.
Rescue fund for Victoria’s TAFE system
The election of the new Labor government in Victoria paves the way for a major commitment to build and refurbish parts of the state’s TAFE system with a $320 million investment. Read more in the news article below.
House of Representatives committee reports on TAFE
A House of Representatives committee has released its report into the TAFE system. The Standing Committee on Education and Employment report, ‘TAFE: an Australian asset’, identifies key issues facing the TAFE system.
It is urging a “value statement” through COAG to address issues including the price of training, quality, and regional and industry needs. Other recommendations include:
- Measures to address the variable quality of VET training, including through greater “prescription and precision” in training packages;
- Further action to address loopholes allowing “high-risk and unscrupulous practices to endanger the experience of students and the reputation of training”;
- The government to ensure, via COAG, that VET funding takes into account TAFE capital requirements and the positions of the disadvantaged.
See the report at the link below.
New Senate inquiry into VET
A wide-ranging inquiry into the regulation and funding of private VET providers is set to kick off in the Senate.
The proposed terms of reference include an examination of:
- Private sector access to public funds
- Regulatory regimes governing the sector
- The VET FEE-HELP scheme
- The overall quality of education provided
- Associated learning requirements
- Graduate outcomes for those completing training with private providers.
Read more at the following link.
TLISC E-Scan Key Findings Discussion Paper
Ahead of the 2015 Transport and Logistics Environmental Scan (E-Scan) release in February next year, TLISC has released the E-Scan Key Findings Discussion Paper. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the Paper which summarises core outcomes from the 2015 E-Scan industry consultation process. The discussion paper can be access at the link below.
John Dawkins steps down from Vocation
As reported in The Australian on 27 November 2014, John Dawkins has resigned as chairman of Vocation, saying shareholders want Board renewal. Read more at the link below.
Where does VET belong?
As reported in The Australian on 18 November 2014, Reserve Bank Board member Dr John Edwards believes the time is ripe to resolve vocational education and training’s biggest challenge — clarifying where it belongs. Dr Edwards is firm in his opinion that VET should be a Canberra responsibility. Read the article at the link below (may require subscription).
Time’s ripe for federal VET takeover – The Australian – 18 November 2014
Latest NCVER Insight eNewsletter
NCVER’s latest eNewsletter has some interesting articles, including:
- Quality assessments: practice and perspectives
- The role of VET in economically vulnerable regions
- Moving on: rethinking tertiary education in Australia
- Ins and outs of apprenticeships
The new Managing Director, Dr Craig Fowler, also shares his vision of the future, and there is a reminder of the NCVER support available for total VET activity reporting. View the newsletter at the link below.
NCVER Insight Issue #53 – 28 November 2014
The news articles presented in this edition of VET News have been researched and prepared by Anne Maree Newbery.
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