Hi everyone,

Welcome to 2015! I hope you have all eased back into the work cycle. Heaps of interesting news happening at the moment. Thanks again to Anne Maree who collates and prepares these news items each month. One thing I did want to draw everyone’s attention to is the looming Total VET Activity report that is due to the NCVER no later than the 28th Feb 2015. You will find more information about this on the ASQA website Click Here

I have had lots of people enquiring about a revised evidence guide to the new standards. I was trying to get this completed to go out with this newsletter but have needed to prioritise clients needs over that for the moment. I will try and get that out as soon as possible as I know how popular the previous version was. We are also running two half day workshops on the new standards in Sydney CBD on the 10th March 2015. I will send out an invite for this to the VET News subscriber list in the next week. There will be a cost for this workshop of $165.00 but it should be a very valuable opportunity. More to follow on this. 

Next month you will notice a new look VET News. We will retain all of the quality articles that we currently include but will be freshening it up with some new branding and layout. I have been wanting to do this forever and have now enlisted some professional assistance to pull this together. Look out for this next month. 
 

Enjoy the news and good training!

Joe Newbery

As always we invite new subscribers at: Subscribe to VET News

If you have some news, send it to us at: news@newberyconsulting.com.au

 

Compliance and Regulatory News

ASQA update

FAQs about the Standards for RTOs 2015. ASQA has commenced publishing responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) received at the information sessions held in November and December 2014. The FAQ page will be updated frequently throughout January 2015. See the following link for details.
http://asqa.gov.au/users-guide-to-the-standards-for-registered-training-organisations-2015/faqs/faqs.html

Update on the users’ guide to the Standards. ASQA has updated the Users’ guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. The current version is Version 1.1. The changes to the guide are clearly set out in Appendix 3 of the new version of the document.

The online version can be found at:
http://www.asqa.gov.au/users-guide-to-the-standards-for-registered-training-organisations-2015/users-guide-to-the-standards-for-registered-training-organisations-2015.html

The pdf version can be found at:
http://asqa.gov.au/verve/_resources/Users_Guide_to_the_Standards_for_Registered_Training_Organisations_RTOs_2015.pdf

Retitling of Vocational Graduate Diplomas and Vocational Graduate Certificates. Full implementation of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) came into effect from 1 January 2015. This requires that Vocational Graduate Certificate (VGC) and Vocational Graduate Diploma (VGD) nomenclature no longer be used, specifically that the term ‘Vocational’ be omitted. This impacts on 39 Vocational Graduate Diplomas and Vocational Graduate Certificates.
Read more about how this change will affect RTOs and students at the following link.
http://asqa.gov.au/news/2629/retitling-of-vocational-graduate-diplomas-and-vocational-graduate-certificates.html

Statement regarding Vocation Group. ASQA has provided a statement of facts regarding its interactions with Vocation Group RTOs. Details can be found at the following link.
http://asqa.gov.au/news/2587/statement-regarding-vocation-group.html
 

VET Reform update

New Ministerial arrangements for Education and Training. On 23 December 2014 the Hon Christopher Pyne MP was sworn in as the Minister for Education and Training. Minister Pyne will be the Cabinet Minister responsible for Vocational Education and Training. Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham has been sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Education and Training.

National VET reform consultations. The VET Reform Taskforce is undertaking a round of national face-to-face consultations throughout January and February 2015. The purpose of the consultations is to discuss and listen to feedback from stakeholders on the priorities for VET Reform in 2015, as well as the Review of Training Packages and Accredited Courses. A series of webinars will also be delivered during this period.

You can register to attend a consultation session on the VET Reform National Consultations page at the following link.
http://vetreform.industry.gov.au/events/national-consultations

National Training Complaints Hotline launched. The Department for Education and Training has established a new National Training Complaints Hotline. The National Training Complaints Hotline directs complaints to relevant authorities, connecting consumers to the appropriate organisation. This is a joint initiative with state and territory governments and is a means for VET participants to bring their concerns to the attention of regulators. For details of how the complaints process will work and for FAQs about the Hotline, go to the link below.
http://www.industry.gov.au/skills/nationaltrainingcomplaintshotline/Pages/default.aspx

Industry Skills Fund open for business. The $476 million Industry Skills Fund is a key element in the Australian Government’s competitiveness agenda and will provide up to 200,000 training places and support services, including literacy and numeracy training and mentoring. Applications opened on 19 January 2015. See the following link to download the Programme Guidelines, Customer Information Guideline, sample enquiry form and application form, and for further information.
http://www.business.gov.au/grants-and-assistance/Industry-Skills-Fund/Pages/default.aspx

Crack down on rogue training brokers. To coincide with the commencement of the new Standards, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham has issued a media release flagging the Government’s intention to stop the exploitation of students by taking “firm action to crack down on unscrupulous and misleading behaviour by some training providers and brokers.” Read the media release at the link below.
http://ministers.education.gov.au/Birmingham/crack-down-rogue-training-brokers-0

New Senate VET Enquiry. On 24 November 2014, the Senate referred the inquiry into the operation, regulation and funding of private vocational education and training (VET) providers in Australia to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 10 August 2015. The committee agreed that submissions should be received by 13 February 2015. The committee will table interim reports to the Senate on 2 March 2015 and 15 June 2015.

The following link should remain active throughout this process with updates.
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/vocationaled
 

NCVER update

AVETMISS data submissions. The NCVER has issued a timely reminder to RTOs about their Total VET Activity reporting. It noted: “The collection of total VET activity data is now underway and the 27 February 2015 deadline for reporting your 2014 accredited training activity to NCVER is rapidly approaching. If you haven’t already submitted your activity to NCVER then now is the time to start validating your data in preparation for submission. You will need to register to use the AVETMISS validation software (AVS) if you haven’t already done so. If you’re unsure how to validate and submit your data, NCVER has developed a fact sheet that sets out where, when and how to report AVETMISS data.”

NCVER have published a comprehensive range of AVETMISS publications and resources, including fact sheets and video tutorials. These can be found at the following link.
AVETMISS Support Resources

If further assistance is required, the NCVER Client Support team can be contacted on 08 8230 8400, 1800 649 452 orsupport@ncver.edu.au.
 

TAC update

 Resources to support the new Standards for RTO’s 2015. TAC has developed the following documents to provide guidance on the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 for TAC registered RTOs.
 

  • Mapping of the similarities between the AQTF 2010 and the Standards for RTOs 2015
  • An overview of key changes in the requirements of RTOs following the introduction of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
  • An overview of key changes in the requirements of VET Regulators following the introduction of the Standards for VET Regulators 2015

See the following link for more details.
http://www.tac.wa.gov.au/StandardsRTOs2015/Pages/default.aspx

Information Sessions for RTOs. TAC will be conducting half-day information sessions throughout February in metropolitan and regional areas. The sessions are intended to provide an overview of the new requirements, introduce some of the changes to TAC’s regulatory approach under the Standards for VET Regulators 2015 and examine in greater detail some specific areas of the Standards that have been raised by WA providers. See the following link for more details.
http://www.tac.wa.gov.au/newsandevent/Pages/New-Standards-for-VET-Regulation—Information-Sessions-for-RTOs.aspx
 

VRQA update

Strengthened protections for apprentices and trainees. The VRQA has enhanced the existing employer approval process to strengthen protections for apprentices and trainees in Victoria. From 1 January 2015, new employers seeking to register a training contract at an Australian Apprenticeship Centre will be asked to make declarations about their background, including relevant indictable offences and any findings or convictions in relation to workplace safety, pay and conditions.

For further information, contact Chris Ingham Executive Manager Apprenticeships and Traineeships, VRQA on (03) 9032 1518 or ingham.christopher.j@edumail.vic.gov.au.

New obligations to help protect children: Betrayal of Trust implementation. A number of changes to the Crimes Act 1958 (Crimes Act) and the Working with Children Act 2005 (WWC Act) have recently been implemented as part of the response to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations.

A new ‘failure to disclose’ offence has been created under the Crimes Act. The offence commenced operation on 27 October 2014. All adults are now required to disclose to the Victoria Police if they know or reasonably believe that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child under the age of 16.

Further information about the regulatory changes can be found in the fact sheet prepared by the Department of Justice. See the link below.
http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/failure+to+disclose+offence

VRQA fees for 2015. From 1 January 2015, with the exception of VET fees, VRQA fees and charges will increase to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Victorian Government’s policy on cost recovery. In August 2014, a Ministerial Order was made to hold 2015 VET fees for VRQA-registered RTOs at 2014 levels. The freeze is a temporary measure for 2015. During 2015 it is anticipated that VET fees for 2016 onwards will be set. For further information on VRQA fees and charges, go to the following link.
http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/registration/Pages/fees.aspx

Applications for streamlined process for changes to scope. Registered training organisations (RTOs) can apply to the VRQA for a standing application to assist in keeping their scope of registration up-to-date. RTOs wishing to lodge a standing application must complete Form E: Standing Application for Amendments to Training Packages and submit it to the VRQA. There is no fee to lodge a standing application or in relation to changes to an RTO’s existing scope of registration made under a standing application.
For more information, including the VRQA’s Guide to Form E, go to the link below.
http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/registration/Pages/vetamend.aspx

 

Training Package News

Recent Training Package endorsements/updates

  • UEE11 Electrotechnology – Release 1.5 – 16 December 2014
  • AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair – Release 2.0 – 16 January 2015
  • AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair – Release 2.1 – 9 February 2015

For detailed release information go to http://training.gov.au/

 

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.
http://www.aatinfo.com.au/getattachment/c7c3874b-6388-4686-bddc-1e33ed806789/file.aspx
http://www.aatinfo.com.au/getattachment/52b8dac4-b40e-4557-99bb-81d8a3f939a8/file.aspx
 

Report on VET reform – Audit Office of NSW

On 29 January 2015, the Audit Office of NSW released its report following an audit of the effectiveness of the Department of Education and Communities’ framework for VET reform. The audit found that the Government is addressing the VET reform objectives in the following order:

  • No extra cost (budget neutral)
  • TAFE viability
  • Quality VET
  • Access to VET for regions and equity groups
  • More contestability
  • Student choice.

The Auditor-General, Grant Hehir said “The Government is more likely to maximise public value from its investment in VET, if it takes a more balanced approach, by putting more emphasis on increased contestability and student choice,”
Read the media release at the following link.
http://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/200/Media_Release_Vocational_Education_and_Training_Reform.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y
 

Simplified administrative arrangements for apprenticeship and traineeship support services in Queensland

New administrative arrangements for apprenticeship and traineeship services in Queensland were introduced on 1 January 2015 that include a centralised document lodgement process for applications, forms and completion advice. The revised arrangements will complement the new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN), which is due to replace the AAC service from 1 July 2015. See further details at the link below.
http://apprenticeshipsinfo.qld.gov.au/support-services.html
 

Smart and Skilled 2015 – Enrolment notification

Smart and Skilled approved providers need to complete the Notification of Enrolment process in the Provider Calculator on STS Online to notify State Training Services (STS) of the students they are enrolling. This should happen well in advance of a student commencing training as this process cannot be performed once training has commenced for a student. Failure to complete the Notification of Enrolment process means the student cannot be reported through the eReporting system, which could result in providers not being paid for these students. See further details at the link below.
http://www.training.nsw.gov.au/forms_documents/training_matters/issue_103.pdf
 

Recent VET publications

Developing, approving and maintaining qualifications: selected international approaches
Josie Misko

This paper is about international approaches to the development, approval and quality assurance of qualifications. Country-specific adaptations of some common themes are observed, including aims to improve the transparency and portability of qualifications, consultations with a broad range of stakeholder groups in developing qualifications and outcomes-based quality assurance processes. Governments in countries experiencing proliferation of qualifications are implementing time-based low or zero uptake review policies to periodically remove or retire qualifications no longer of relevance.
NCVER Research Report 23 January 2015
 

Research messages 2014
NCVER

This publication summarises research published by NCVER in 2014 in the context of changing economic, industrial, social and education conditions, organised under the following broad categories: productivity – to sustain and build Australia’s human capital; participation – to support and build Australia’s workforce diversity; learning and teaching – to support development of capabilities in teaching and assessment; and place and role of VET (including institutions) – to enhance productivity and drive new value-added products and services in Australia’s VET system.
NCVER Research Report 10 February 2015

 

Other News of Interest

MYEFO budget measures

With the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released on 15 December 2014, ACPET have prepared a summary of savings and expenditure measures relevant to the education, employment and training sectors.

In brief, ACPET notes that “Support for Adult Apprentices payment has been wound up, with loans being offered through the Trade Support Loans scheme as a replacement measure, the new Australian Apprenticeships Support Services will have reduced funding, down $30million over 4 year as a result of “streamlining” activities, Trade Cadetships are losing pretty much all of their funding and TEQSA and HEP are being merged.”

Read the full summary at the following link.
http://www.acpet.edu.au/article/8920/synopsis-of-the-budget-/
 

Report on Government Services 2015

On 6 February 2015 the Productivity Commission released its Report of Government Services 2015, with chapter 5 reporting on government funded VET services delivered by government and private RTOs. The report makes the following five recommendations:

  1. Minimum hours of delivery for courses, to prevent unrealistically accelerated delivery of courses
  2. Capping funding to private RTOs to ensure TAFEs remain able to provide quality education
  3. Ban the subcontracting of delivery of courses to unregistered providers
  4. Better regulation of RTOs’ recruiting practices and business models
  5. An end to governments manipulating subsidies for private RTOs, in response to distortions in the market and rent seeking behaviour by providers.

The first link below provides the Commission’s fact sheet for chapter 5. The second link provides some media commentary.
http://www.pc.gov.au/research/recurring/report-on-government-services/2015/childcare-education-and-training/factsheets/rogs-2015-volumeb-chapter5-factsheet.pdf
http://the-scan.com/2015/02/12/sorry-state-of-the-market/
 

Senator Simon Birmingham says that quality is the top issue for VET

In his first major address in the portfolio, the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, has hinted at a further crack down on rogue training providers. In a speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 5 February, the Senator said that initial consultation with stakeholders had, almost universally, identified the issue of quality as the number one concern. Read the speech transcript at the following link.
http://www.senatorbirmingham.com.au/Media-Centre/Speeches/ID/2606/The-Skills-for-the-Job-Ensuring-vocational-education-and-training-delivers-for-employees-and-employers
 

To e-assess or not to e-assess? VET enquiry published

An Australian enquiry into the veracity and authenticity of e-assessment has been published on the E-standards for Training website. Polytechnic West successfully tendered to respond to the perception among some VET stakeholders that e-assessment does not adequately address the security of the assessment conditions, the reliability of assessment processes, and the identity of the person being assessed. Find out more at the following link.
http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/media_releases/to_e-assess_or_not_to_e-assess.php
 

Updated VET E-standards published

An updated set of technical standards for creating accessible and reusable e-learning content has been published for the vocational education and training (VET) sector. See the report at the link below.
http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/technical_standards/index.php
 

Evocca College in the media

On 27 January 2015 ABC News reported concerns raised about the College’s practices, quoting figures from the Government’s MySkills website that showed Evocca College enrolled almost 14,000 students in 2012 but just 19 graduated. In a statement, the college said that the MySkills figures were wrong and many hundreds of students graduated out of 2,770 enrolments in 2012, with its graduate rates at or above industry average.

In a subsequent news item on 28 January 2015, ABC News reported that it had received many complaints about Evocca College from former staff and students following its news report on the previous day. A spokesman for Evocca responded to the allegations.

See the news reports at the following links.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-27/evocca-training-college-student-figures-questioned/6047206
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-28/evocca-college-former-staff-students-come-forward-with-concerns/6052604
 

Financial assistance for Victorian TAFEs

As reported by The Australian, the Victorian Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert, said “New figures have revealed the extent of damage of the Liberal’s cuts to TAFE, with forecast losses of $71.8 million across the sector for 2014,”
The Minister announced that William Angliss Institute, Federation Training, and Sunraysia Institute of TAFE were the latest to share in the first $20 million of emergency funding to save campuses at risk of collapse. He said seven TAFEs are eligible for fast tracked funding from the $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund.
 

Labor welcomes Auditor-General’s focus on VET FEE-HELP

Senator Kim Carr and Sharon Bird today welcomed the Auditor-General’s response to their request for an investigation into VET FEE-HELP to ensure that skills funding is being used in accordance with the intention of the legislation.

“Labor wrote to the Auditor-General in November last year following a significant number of media, industry and ASQA reports on unscrupulous behaviour and the misuse of VET FEE-HELP in the VET Sector last year,” Sharon Bird said. “We have received advice today that the Auditor-General has requested that a performance audit of VET FEE-HELP be included in the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) 2015-2016 work program.

Read the full media release at the following link.
http://www.sharonbird.com.au/labor_welcomes_auditor_general_s_reponse_to_request_for_vet_fee_help_investigation
 

Australian Careers Network float

Education and training provider Australian Careers Network has seen its shares sink 20% on its Australian Securities Exchange debut, with investors remaining wary of companies exposed to the vocational education sector. Read more at the following link.
http://the-scan.com/2014/12/17/acn-float-flounders-in-a-sea-of-troubles/
 

Victorian VET Funding Review

The new Victorian Labor government has announced a comprehensive, independent review of the funding of Victoria’s vocational education and training (VET) system. Minister for training and skills Steve Herbert says the VET Funding Review will provide a more sustainable model for public TAFE Institutes and private training providers. Read more at the following link.
http://the-scan.com/2015/02/10/victorian-vet-funding-review/
 

Labor’s TAFE agenda in Queensland

With the Labor Party forming a minority government in Queensland, its promise to rescue the TAFE sector will now come into sharper focus. Read more at the following link.
http://the-scan.com/2015/02/12/labors-tafe-agenda-in-queensland/
 

Higher education reforms referred back to Senate Committee

Labor, the Greens and four independent senators (Senators Xenophon, Lambie, Muir, Rhiannon and Lazarus) have joined forces to establish another inquiry into higher education reform, to report by 17 March 2015. Read more at the following link.
http://the-scan.com/2015/02/12/higher-education-reforms-referred-back-to-senate-committee/
 

The news articles presented in this edition of VET News have been researched and prepared by Anne Maree Newbery.
 
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