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Joe Newbery

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Compliance and Regulatory News

ASQA update

Further FAQs about the standards for RTOs 2015. Now organised into topic areas for ease of navigation.

Targeted VET FEE HELP AUDITS. These audits will address allegations of unscrupulous marketing and other practices intended to exploit the Australian Government’s VET FEE-HELP program.

Audit Report Template for Self-Assessment. ASQA has published its new audit report template that now includes the detailed evidence guide that an auditor will use as they audit each Clause of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.

Note re invoices for CRICOS providers. RTOs that receive a CRICOS invoice via ASQAnet are alerted to the fact that they must use the BPay Billing Reference on the invoice.

ASQA information sessions. There are five videos in total in nice, bite-size chunks of less than 15 minutes each on the information sessions held last year for the new 2015 Standards for RTOs.

VET Reform Update

Summaries of VET Reform Consultations. Throughout January and February 2015, the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, hosted a series of face-to-face consultations on VET Reform in every capital city as well as webinar sessions. Summaries of the views and feedback collected during these sessions are now available on the VET Reform Taskforce website.

New legislation to strengthen regulation of training providers. On 25 February legislation was introduced into Parliament to further target unscrupulous VET providers and improve training quality. The Bill will amend the National Vocational and Education Training Regulator (NVETR) Act to:

  • Enable the Australian Government to create new quality standards to quickly address any problems with VET providers or VET courses;
  • Require anyone marketing a VET course, including brokers and other third parties, to clearly identify which RTO is providing the qualification;
  • Extend the registration period from RTOs from five to seven years so that ASQA can focus its attention on investigating and acting upon high risk and poor quality providers.


Stronger Training Laws Pass Parliament. Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham welcomed the Senate’s decision to pass the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2015, which was initially introduced to Parliament on 25 February (See article above).The bill was passed on 17 March 2015, and Senator Birmingham says the stronger training laws will further crack down on dodgy VET providers.


A message of thanks from NCVER. The deadline for reporting 2014 nationally accredited training activity (AVETMISS data) to NCVER was 27 February 2015. NCVER sincerely thanks all Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) who met this deadline. We have notified the national VET regulator(s) of the RTOs who successfully reported within the deadline. We recognise this is the first year of reporting for many RTOs and for those submitting directly to NCVER, we will keep the collection window open until 31 March 2015.

Have your say on NCVER research The NCVER is taking its research program in a new direction and would like input from the VET sector. To stimulate wide discussion, it has published the Research Prospectus 2015-16 with the wide aim of further improving how it addresses the diverse needs of its many clients.

End to apprentice decline? According to NCVER, the latest early trend estimates show the number of people starting apprenticeships has increased, suggesting an end to the recent series of declines. These increases apply to both trade and non-trade apprentices as follows:

  • Non-trade commencements increasing from 26,400 in the September 2014 quarter to 31,700 in the December 2014 quarter.
  • Trade commencements increasing from 19,900 in the September 2014 quarter to 21,500 in the December 2014 quarter.

Employers to have their say. The NCVER is conducting the Survey of Australian Employers to identify the ways in which they meet their skill needs and how effective these strategies are. The survey aims to collect the views of 9,000 employers from across the country and from all industry sectors. Businesses are randomly selected from the Australian Business Register to participate in the survey which will be conducted from now until June this year.

TAC Update

TAC have advised RTOs that following amendments to the Vocational Education and Training (General) Regulations 2009, the commencement date for the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 is Monday 6 April for RTOs registered, or seeking registration, with TAC.

VRQA Update

Investigations into automotive industry apprenticeships. VRQA investigated 115 employers employing 160 automotive apprentices in Victoria. As a result, 99 training contracts have been revoked.

Review of VET Quality Assurance. The Victorian Minister for Training and Skills has announced the Review of Quality Assurance in Victoria’s VET system. The final report of the Review is due in April 2015.

Training Package News

Recent Training Package endorsements/updates

  • MAR Maritime – Release 2.0 – 27 February 2015
  • CPP Property Services – Release 1.0 – 5 March 2015
  • SFI11 Seafood Industry – Release 2.2 – 6 March 2015

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


Events, Resources & Funding News

Recent VET publications

Close the Gap – Progress and Priorities Report 2015
Christopher Holland for the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee

In the spirit of open and constructive dialogue between government, the wider community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Close the Gap Campaign annually produces this progress and priorities report alongside the Prime Minister’s Report.

Financing Tertiary Education in Australia – The Reform Imperative and Rethinking Student Entitlements
Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy 

A clear ‘entitlement’ to public support for school education has been widely accepted policy for more than a century in Australia, but today’s young Australians are growing up at a time when a post-school qualification is becoming a baseline requirement for meaningful social and economic participation.


VET News

New Code of Ethics for VET Sector

ACPET launched its new code of ethics on 13 March 2015, which it says is designed to “establish the professional standards expected of education and training providers.”

Workplace Gender Equality Reporting

On 25 February 2015, Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Employment, announced changes to workplace gender reporting requirements. The Federal Government will now streamline workplace gender equality reporting and remove the most onerous additional requirements that were due to be introduced from 1 April 2015. These changes take effect in the 2015-16 reporting year.

EOIs Sought for Assessment Services

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is seeking expressions of interest from RTOs. TRA specialises in assessment services for people with trade skills gained overseas and in Australia for the purpose of migration and skills recognition. It is seeking EOIs from RTOs that have demonstrated experience in RPL processes and in assessing training package qualifications.


ACPET responds to allegations against Evocca College. A media release was distributed on 4 March 2015 announcing that ACPET has asked Evocca College to show cause as to why it should be allowed to remain an ACPET member. ACPET Board member, Ms Jenny Field, an Evocca employee, has also stepped down from the Board.


ACPET calls out Evocca College. Following allegations about Evocca College on the ABC 7.30 Report, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training has formally asked Evocca College to provide evidence against the allegations that have been made and issued a show cause letter.


Thousands of vocational training qualifications recalled due to teaching quality concerns. About 9,500 students have been forced to hand back their certificates by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority in the past year, while the qualifications of another 3,000 are being investigated. It came after a Senate enquiry into vocational training heard private organisations and education brokers were deceiving students about the cost of courses and job outcomes. Former executive director of the Victorian TAFE Association said students had been let down by a lack of regulation.


New Queensland Cabinet. In a statement released on 15 February 2015, the new Queensland Premier – the Hon. Anastasia Palaszczuk – announced her Cabinet. The new faces relevant to Queensland’s Vocational Education & Training Sector and Schools are: The Hon. Yvette D’Ath, Minister for Training and Skills; and The Hon. Kate Jones, Minister for Education. In a public statement, the Premier has said her new Cabinet will “focus on job creation, listening to Queenslanders and acting on their concerns.”


New QLD Govt backs away from contestable funding. The new Training and Skills Minister, Yvette D’Ath has indicated that Labor’s wide-ranging changes to the Newman government’s vocational education policies include a reversal of the LNP’s decision to make public training funds 100 per cent contestable. The ALP government will also put TAFE campus sales on ice, rejig plans to outsource management of training facilities.


Campaign launched to stop unscrupulous training providers and marketers. An education campaign is being run to alert consumers about inappropriate conduct by training providers and marketers in relation to marketing VET FEE-HELP courses. The campaign aims to provide greater awareness and understanding about their rights and obligations when signing up for a training course.

Other News of Interest

 Senate again votes down the Higher Education and Research Reform Bill

For the second time, the Senate has voted down the the Federal Government’s legislation to reform higher education, including uncapping university fees. 

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

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