Hope you are all well.
It’s hard to know where to start. In the last couple of weeks we have seen the release of some significant documents which stand to have far reaching impact on the VET sector as we know it. These are all included in the News and I strongly encourage you all to download and read these so you are informed and in front of the change curve. Of significance is the duel release of ASQA’s proposed fee schedule and the NSSC position paper on the proposed regulatory changes for the VET Sector. I have read both documents carefully and have given the proposed changes lots of thought.
The increase in ASQA fees has been long expected. I thought their released impact statement was quite generous in information. Whilst I think the increase in some fees will hurt the sector (particularly for smaller providers), I can understand the basis for how it has been determined. I do think we will see further increases in fees in 2014 (on top of those currently proposed). The impact statement assumes the same level of regulatory activity in the future as experienced by ASQA since 2011. This assumption does not take into account the quite sweeping changes proposed by the NSSC which will absolutely increase the regulatory activities of ASQA. The most significant effect of the fee increase is to further raise the barrier to entry into the VET Sector with the fee for initial registration rising to almost $11,000.00 (only four qualifications). Combine this with the proposed NSSC changes and we will definitely start to see a reduction in new providers entering the VET sector.
The changes proposed by the NSSC are significant (see article on The NSSC’s Position Paper). I have been monitoring the Standards Review closely and am blown away by many of the proposed changes which seem to have materialised at the last moment. Do yourself a favour and go back through the consultation record on the NSSC site and try and join the dots to identify how they have possibly arrived at their current position! This is an ambush by the NSSC who has issued a position paper with the most agenda driven analysis of options I have ever seen. The options presented include, Option 1 – do nothing, Option 2 – minor changes or Option 3 – complete regulatory system overhaul! Option 3 obviously gets the recommendation. This is a summary:
- Name change from RTOs to Licensed Training Organisations (LTOs). Really! Why?
- Initial period of 18 month provisional licencing for new LTOs with limitations on their operation.
- A complete new set of standards called the AVQS Quality Framework.
- All LTO partnership arrangements to be registered with the AVQS regulator (let’s see ASQA fit that into their proposed operating budget).
- Those delivering TAE40110 required to hold a Diploma of Vocational Education and Training.
- Each LTO to appoint an “Accountable Education Officer” who is responsible (legally responsible) for all training and assessment delivered by an LTO. Required to hold a diploma or higher level qualification in education and training.
- Requirement for annual self-assessment introduced.
- All LTO will be required to be an incorporated entity (no Sole Traders)
You have three weeks to make a submission (16 April 2013). I can’t help but feel any submission would be a waste of time. It’s clear to me the NSSC have an agenda and short of their proposal being knocked down in parliament, it will happen. If it is to progress it would need to go to the Spring sitting of parliament which is likely to be complicated by the Federal election. The combined effect of the proposed fee increase and the regulatory changes will impact most heavily on the small private providers both currently registered and those planning registration. It concerns me that the NSSC do not value the contribution by our many small providers who often deliver highly specialised and customised training services in support of industry. The agenda appears to favour the concentration of the training market into the large private providers and public institutes. It’s almost as if regulation is being used as a counter balance to the roll-out of COAGs reform agenda which allows for greater competition and choice in the training market. The proposed changes will certainly lessen the competition from small and specialist providers who have the flexibility to adapt and customise their delivery to industry needs.
Anyway,, we can only soldier on and keep an eye on the future. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.
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Compliance and Regulatory News
New fact sheet: Using third-party evidence to assess competency. ASQA has published a new fact sheet to provide RTOs with guidance on the use of third-party evidence in assessment processes. It provides useful tips regarding the engagement of third parties and appropriate evidence collection tools. In particular it notes the importance of ‘interpreting’ training package information for third parties, i.e. a cut and paste directly from the training package is not appropriate. Access the fact sheet from the Publications page of the ASQA website at the link below.
Updated general direction: Retention requirements for completed student assessment items. ASQA has simplified its general direction regarding the retention of assessment evidence. Previously there were three possible compliance options and the RTO was required to choose the one that represented the longest time period. Now there is just one requirement for all RTOs to securely retain records (as defined in the general direction) “for a period of six months from the date on which the judgement of competence for the student was made.” You can access the amended general direction at the link below.
Regulatory reminders. ASQA posted a few reminders for RTOs in February regarding their regulatory obligations.
1. The first was a reminder about renewal of registration. The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (the Act) requires that providers submit a renewal application at least 90 days prior to their registration expiry date. It is the responsibility of providers to ensure they meet this requirement.
2. The second reminder was about digital student records that must be provided to ASQA in certain circumstances. Click on the link below for details.
3. The third reminder was for VET and ELICOS providers registered on CRICOS and related to the process for renewing CRICOS registration. Click on the link below for details.
Appointment of Deputy Chief Commissioner. Commissioner Dianne Orr has been appointed Deputy Chief Commissioner of ASQA and would act as the Chief Commissioner during any vacancy or period of absence. There is no change as a result of this appointment to Commissioner Orr’s executive role at ASQA.
Amendments to Standards for NVR RTOs, Data Provisions Requirements and Standards for VET Accredited Courses. Amended versions of these three legislative instruments were made by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research on 29 January 2013. There are no substantive changes with amendments being technical in nature to allow for the instruments to reference subordinate documents. Click on the links below to go to the news items on the ASQA website.
Consultation on a revised schedule of fees and charges. ASQA has recently undertaken a review of its fees and charges and a revised schedule has been developed for implementation from 1 July 2013. ASQA is inviting written submission in response to the proposed fees and charges. Click on the link below for more information.
Communiqué 10 – March 2013. NSSC has published Communiqué 10 which summarises the outcomes of its meeting held in Melbourne on Thursday 28 February 2013. Highlights are:
1. The NSSC’s Position Paper, Improving vocational education and training – the case for a new system, will be released on Tuesday 12 March 2013 (see Special Bulletin news item below). The paper will put forward the NSSC’s position on the reforms required to the current standards for the regulation of vocational education and training.
2. The NSSC considered an updated policy for the application of the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy within the VET sector and agreed to its publication, now available at http://www.nssc.natese.gov.au/policies/qualifications_issuance.
3. The NSSC agreed to the development of new Standards for VET Accredited Courses and to commence consultations with key stakeholders shortly.
Access the Communiqué at the link below:
Special Bulletin No. 4 – Launch of Position Paper. The NSSC has issued this special bulletin to accompany the launch of its Position Paper following the review of standards for the regulation of vocational education and training. To read about the NSSC’s vision for a new Australian Vocational Qualifications System, click on the link below to the access NSSC Special Bulletin No. 4. You’ll find a link to the Position Paper in the bulletin.
Training Package News
Training Package Version Release Date
- CPP07 Property Services, version 13.0, released 27/01/2013
- MSS11 Sustainability, version 2.1, released 6/02/2013
- CPC08 Construction, Plumbing and Services, version 8.0, released 7/02/2013
- RII09 Resources and Infrastructure Industry, version 3.1, released 15/02/2013
- AHC10 Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management, version 5.0, released 1/03/2013
- SIS10 Sport, Fitness and Recreation, version 2.0, released 6/03/2013
- UEE11 Electrotechnology, version 1.1, released 6/03/2013
- MSL09 Laboratory Operations, version 2.3, released 11/03/2013
- UEP12 Electricity Supply Industry Generation Sector, released 2.0 14/03/2013
- UET12 Transmission, Distribution and Rail Sector, released 2.0 14/03/2013
- PUA12 Public Safety, version 2.0, released 13/03/2013
- UEG11 Gas Industry, version 1.1, released 18/03/2013
- BSB07 Business Services, version 8.0, released 18/03/2013
For details of release information go to http://training.gov.au/
TGA reporting functions
Some new reporting functions have been added to the training.gov.au website, including a taxonomy report and an updated RTO report. Click on the link below for more details.
Language Literacy and Numeracy in the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
IBSA indicated in 2011 that a staged approach would be implemented to respond to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (formerly Skills Australia) advice relating to raising LLN skills of the VET workforce. IBSA indicated that from July 2014 the current LLN elective in the Certificate IV would move into the core of the qualification. This will have implications for RTOs in delivering the Certificate IV and also for assessors in meeting the skill requirements to assess this qualification. IBSA have prepared information leaflets to assist RTOs and the VET workforce in understanding the implications of this change, and provide support and guidance in meeting its requirements. Click on the link below to access the resources.
Events, Resources & Funding News
Australian apprenticeship & traineeship updates
Click on the links below to view the Australian Apprenticeship Updates, showing qualifications recently implemented in WA, TAS, NT, ACT, VIC, SA and NSW.
Queensland VET Development Centre (QVDC) 2013 webinar series
QVDC’s 2013 Webinar Series Program begins on 11 March 2013 and will be run twice a month, from 12.00pm-1.00pm (QLD time). The kick-off session is free and thereafter the cost is $22 (incl. GST) per session. Further details can be found at the following link:
BSB07 Business Services Training Package workshops
Innovation & Business Skills Australia (IBSA) is delivering new workshops across Australia on ‘Changes to the Business Services Training Package’ presented by Tony Cusack from February to May 2013 and ‘The new WHS qualifications – leaner, focused and up to date’ presented by Ross Armstrong from April to May 2013. Go to the Velg Training website to find out more.
Recent VET publications
Australian vocational education and training statistics: apprentices and trainees 2012 – September quarter
This publication presents estimates of apprentice and trainee activity in Australia for the September quarter 2012.
Research messages 2012
This publication is a collection of summaries of research projects published by NCVER in 2012. The publication also has an overview essay that captures the themes and highlights from the research for the year.
Cultural dimensions of Indigenous participation in vocational education and training: New perspectives
Alfred Michael Dockery
This study provides new evidence on the inter-relationships between Indigenous Australians’ association with their traditional culture and their engagement with vocational education and training.
SkillsDMC 2013 Environmental Scan
The SkillsDMC 2013 E-Scan provides an overview of the Australian Resources and Infrastructure Industry’s current and future skilling needs, outlines challenges and highlights opportunities. Its intention is to act as an early warning system for the Industry, governments and the Australian National Training System.
Report on Indigenous Mentoring Programs in the Resources and Infrastructure Industry
The Minerals Council of Australia commissioned SkillsDMC to research and report on Indigenous mentoring programs and practices. The purpose of the report is to provide valuable information back to Industry so that mentoring practices can be improved – which will ultimately lead to an increase in Indigenous Australian worker participation in the Australian drilling, mining, quarrying and civil infrastructure sectors.
Educating oneself out of social exclusion
Hielke Buddelmeyer, Felix Leung, Rosanna Scutella
Increasing education and training is considered one means by which to reduce the extent of social exclusion and as such has been a key focus in recent public policies. This study investigates the impact of education and training on the extent of social exclusion.
Other News of Interest
Following the resignation of Senator Chris Evans, Julia Gillard has appointed the former Immigration Minister, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research as well as Minister for Small Business. Wait!!
He has resigned as well! At this time there is currently no Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research. See more on this sad and sorry story here:
The South Australian State Government recently appointed Grace Portelesi MP to the role of Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, and Minister for Science and Information Technology.
Rebound predicted for international market
A report by the International Education Advisory Council noted that the international sector will rebound with an additional 117,000 international students by 2020 – a 30% increase on current numbers. In releasing the report, Chris Bowen pointed to a recent upturn in interest in studying in Australia, with a 27% growth in higher education visas granted to offshore applicants in the six months to December 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. Read more at the following link:
ACPET lobbies for broader access to public resources
In its 2013–14 Pre-Budget Submission, ACPET has called for a functional separation between infrastructure and service provision, to promote equal access to infrastructure and infrastructure funding. ACPET suggests that this functional separation “be accompanied by greater sharing of public resources and infrastructure with the private sector through public-private arrangements.” It argues that the objectives of a demand driven training system will be impeded, especially for education and training with high infrastructure costs, if private providers cannot benefit from the significant tax-payer funded infrastructure investment enjoyed by TAFEs. Read the ACPET submission at the following link:
Government blocks second University-TAFE deal
As reported in The Australian on 20 February 2013, the Commonwealth government has stepped in again to block a degree-franchising deal involving Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Holmesglen TAFE. Under the agreement, Holmesglen was to have taught the first two years of a CSU bachelor degree in oral health in Melbourne, with students to then complete their final year at the university’s Wagga Wagga campus in regional NSW. This follows the recent block of a deal between the University of Canberra and Holmesglen. The link below provides a transcript of the news article, courtesy of the TAFE Directors Australia website.
$200 million for Victorian TAFEs
According to The Australian (13 March 2013), unions, academics and the federal government have slammed the Victorian government’s latest TAFE changes as an inadequate attempt to save face. The reforms include an extra $200 million over four years “to support innovation and structural reform”. Read more at the following link:
The news articles presented in this edition of VET News have been researched and prepared by Anne Maree Newbery.
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