VET News – 28th October 2016

Hello and welcome to VET News

Well, I have been sounding the alarm bells on the VET Fee Help program since 2012. The government made some changes at the fringes in 2015 to clean this sector up. However, this month has brought down the hammer like a blunt instrument on the private providers operating in this sector. I won’t repeat here the information you can read in the news below. I think many of the reforms in the VET Student Loans scheme are appropriate. One reform that hasn’t received much publicity is restriction applied to third party delivery of training. This will only be allowed in circumstances where the third party is also an approved VET Student Loan provider. That will have an immediate effect of consolidating this portion of the sector down to the actual organisations which are approved under the scheme and not the hybrid network of partners. The Government will also have greater powers to take disciplinary action against training providers who breach requirements of the program and its associated guidelines. All these are good.

But the measure that I think will have the greatest positive effect is the requirement for current VET Fee Help Providers to reapply to become a VET Student Loan provider. Provisional approval will be provided for a period of six months if those providers meet key selection criteria which among other things include demonstrating appropriate student outcomes. The government have identified that this will include evaluating data on completion rates at the course and unit level, data on student outcomes and student satisfaction. So, if you are a provider that has been doing the right thing and applying robust student engagement during enrolment and providing meaningful support services to support your students to completion, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. My true hope is that the government are serious about this evaluation and we weed out all the current providers who are still in the system collecting fees from students and then doing little or nothing to deliver on their promised services.

I mentioned before that the government brought down the hammer. Well in regards to its qualification selection and allocation of payment cap it is simply a dumb blunt instrument. The allocation of funding to some courses particularly in the management and commerce category just is beyond belief. Let’s have a look at one example. The Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management SIT50116 has been allocated an amount of $5,000.00. It is a complex course to deliver requiring 23 units of competency. It is an important qualification for the continued growth and management of the tourism sector. It cannot be delivered in a quality way for that amount of money and still meet the Governments mandated volume of learning. The RTO will need to seek a substantial co-payment from the student which is unlikely to occur. Not counting public providers and enterprise RTO’s there are only 16 private providers in the country with this qualification on their scope. We have already had clients tell us that they will discontinue to offer that qualification (among many others). The government’s reform have absolutely punished good private providers and will see the delivery of these courses consolidate to the public providers. But, if you want to do a Diploma of Horse Breeding – Stud Management (22308VIC), it will cost you a VET Loan amount of a whopping $15,000.00. The only problem is that no RTO in the country has it on their scope! It makes no sense and needs to be reconsidered.

The reforms must yet be approved by the Senate. My hope is that some common sense is applied and there is some consideration for the many very good private providers that are out there supporting our communities. The reforms overall are good, but the tiered payment arrangements have not properly considered the cost of delivering quality vocational education and training or the effect it will have on good providers. The inequality it creates for those lower socio-economic sections of the community who rely on a vocational pathway into the workforce is patently wrong.

Good training,

Joe Newbery

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Compliance & Regulatory News

VET Reform

VET Student Loans program to replace VET FEE-HELP
On 5 October 2016, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham announced the Australian Government’s new VET Student Loans program, saying that it is a win-win for students and taxpayers.The program will replace the VET FEE-HELP scheme from 1 January 2017, pending the passage of the VET Student Loans Bill 2016.
VET Student Loans information
The Department of Education and Training has published a range of fact sheets and other resources to support the new program. These include:

  • Eligible course list and fact sheet
  • Information for students
  • Information for new and existing providers
  • Information on provider eligibility
  • Tuition assurance fact sheet
  • Compliance measures
  • VET FEE-HELP regulation impact statement


Reactions to the student loan reforms
There have been a raft of reactions to the new program, both for and against.
Here are just a few…
TDA media release: Click here>>
ACPET media release: Click here>>
ACPET media release (following publication of eligible course list): Click here>>
John Pardy, Monash University: Click here>>
Rod Jones, Navitas: Click here>>
Mary Leahy & Shelley Gillis, University of Melbourne: Click here>>

ASQA update

Managing provider risk
On 27 September 2016, ASQA changed how it manages provider risk. It will no longer use provider ‘risk ratings’ but instead will use a more detailed ‘provider profile’.A provider’s profile will include a set of risk indicators. One such indicator is a provider’s ‘Compliance History’ and ASQA will be emailing providers a notification of their Compliance History before 31 October 2016.
More information about ASQA’s new audit model
ASQA has published a new web page and two new fact sheets, providing more information about what’s changing, how this audit model was developed, and how the revised model helps to support consistent VET sector quality.
Early childhood education and care webinar resources
ASQA recently hosted free livestream webinars for RTOs offering training in early childhood education and care in Australia.The webinar video and presentation materials are now available.
Notification of third party arrangements
If you’ve been looking around the new version of asqanet for the place to notify ASQA of third party arrangements, stop looking; it’s no longer there.ASQA has now provided an online form for these notifications and reminds providers that it is an explicit requirement of the Standards for RTOs 2015 that ASQA be notified within 30 days of entering a written agreement with another organisation for the delivery of services.
ASQA cancels qualifications issued by Qld security training provider
ASQA has announced its intention to cancel 461 qualifications and statements of attainment issued to 236 individuals by the now-deregistered training provider Peacemakers Security Pty Ltd.

VRQA update

The VRQA has published a two-part podcast for RTOs wishing to add the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to their scope of registration. The podcasts guide listeners through changes to the updated qualification to help RTOs understand what is required when applying to add the qualification to their scope of registration.

Qld announces Training Ombudsman

Queensland Minister for Training and Skills the Hon Y’Vette D’Ath announced the appointment of Mr Geoffrey Favell as Queensland Training Ombudsman. Mr Favell will serve as a watchdog for the state’s VET sector to help restore accountability within in VET.

Training Package News

TGA Updates

Training package changes
There is a new release of the following training package:

  • AMP Release 2.1: 20 October 2016

Extended transition period
ASQA has recently approved an extended transition period for HLT61107 Advanced Diploma of Nursing. The extended training, assessment and certification issuance period for this qualification ends on 30 June 2018. This decision does not affect the date at which point new learners may commence training and assessment in the HLT61107 qualification. Students can start training and assessment in the qualification up to 7 June 2017.

TAE Interpretation Guide

Interpretation Guide: TAE Training Package Release 2.0
PwC Skills for Australia has released the new guide which has been designed to address concerns raised by industry following the second release of the TAE Training Package in April 2016. The guide provides consistent advice on how to interpret key aspects of the training package and is based on consultation with key industry stakeholders.


AISC Communique
AISC held its tenth meeting on 22 September. The meeting included an address by Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills the Hon Karen Andrews MP, a review of Industry Reference Committees (IRCs), and approval of the first two Business Cases.

Events, Resourcing & Funding News

Australian apprenticeship update

Click on the link below to view the Training Package qualifications recently implemented in States and Territories.UPDATE 24/10/16>>

Free foundation skills assessment tool

The Department of Education and Training has released a free interactive online Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) to identify and measure LLN and employability skills. The tool is now available for RTOs while the department and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) continue refinements ahead of a full implementation.

Calls for LLN tenders

The Department of Education is calling for tenders to improve the delivery of LLN services for adult migrants and job seekers. The Department is looking to engage an RTO to deliver general services and quality assurance services for both the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and the Skills for Education and Employment Program (SEE). Tenders must be lodged electronically via AusTender before Wednesday 16 November 2016.

NCVER 2017 National Conference

NCVER has announced that the 26th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’ will be held from Wednesday 5 July to Friday 7 July 2017. Partnering with TasTAFE, the conference is being held at their Drysdale Campus in the heart of Hobart’s CBD. The conference will explore the theme Skilling for tomorrow.
Registrations will open in late March 2017.

Recent VET Publications

2015 VET FEE-HELP Statistical Report
Department of Education and Training
The Department of Education and Training has released the 2015 VET FEE-HELP Statistical Report, providing information on the number of students accessing loans, student demographics, fields of study, and the amount of VET FEE-HELP loans accessed throughout the 2015 calendar year.
REPORT>>A New System for Financing Australian Tertiary Education
Mitchell Institute, Victoria University
This report proposes a new system to undertake some of the biggest funding problems in Australian tertiary education. It highlights the imbalances between enrolment and funding amongst the higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET), and calls for an independent authority to govern the tertiary education funding system.
REPORT>>Shedding light: private ‘for profit’ training providers and young early school leavers
George Myconos, Kira Clarke, Kitty Te Riele
This research aims to shed light on the role of private providers in delivering training to a particular cohort of learners, young people who have left school early. The authors surveyed 130 private ‘for profit’ registered training organisations (RTOs) to find out their perspectives on teaching and learning practices, engaging with early school leavers, and the educational and wellbeing support services provided to the young learners.

Other News of Interest

ASIC pursues legal action against Vocation and its former chairman John Dawkins
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has commenced legal action against the once-listed training provider, Vocation Limited, and directors, including John Dawkins, a former education minister who once headed the national VET standards agency. ASIC’s proceedings in the Federal Court allege that Vocation made misleading representations and failed to make proper disclosures to the ASX.
TDA announces new chair, deputy chair and board appointment
The TDA Board of Directors has announced the election of Ms Mary Faraone, Chief Executive of Holmesglen Institute, as the new Chair. The Board also welcomed two new Directors – Ms Jodi Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Queensland, who was elected as Deputy Chair, and Mr Warren Tapp, Chair of TAFE Queensland.
Council for International Education
Minister for Education and Training the Hon Simon Birmingham announced the membership of the Council for International Education to oversee Australia’s first National Strategy for International Education 2025. The council consists of experienced international education experts and practitioners as well as Australian Government Ministers with portfolio responsibilities in international education. The strategy sets out a 10-year plan for developing Australia as a global leader in education, training and research.
The news articles presented in this edition of VET News have been researched and prepared by Anne Maree Newbery.
Copyright © Newbery Consulting 2016, All rights reserved.


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