|Hello and welcome to VET News,
I mentioned late last year an inquiry initiated by the government into the Perceptions and Status of Vocational Education and Training. This inquiry was referred from the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, on 30 November 2022, to the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training and will commence in March.
I just want to put this inquiry in context of the current government and their agenda to preference vocational education and training away from the private RTO sector. They have been very clear and unambiguous about this agenda. The following is an extract from the Labor party’s current national platform document (click):
“The competitive vocational education and training market has led to significant market failure. Public funding to private providers has led, in too many cases, to exploitation of students and profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer. Labor will ensure at least 70% of all public funding for vocational education goes to TAFE.”
I take several things out of this policy statement. It says to me that the Labor Party:
- think that TAFE are not exploiting students just as equally as rouge private providers.
- blame a perceived market failure solely on private providers (how convenient)
- think that TAFE are not profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer just as equally as rouge private providers.
The government is blinded to the reality by their ideology. The people that work in the sector alongside TAFE know very well that the above is not true, and the private sector is just a convenient public punching bag for a Labor government. The current government view the 70% of public funding preference to public TAFE as the minimum and will extend this to 80% or 100% if it is politically feasible. It is my view that the government will actively work toward dismantling the private RTO sector if they can justify this. This inquiry is a deliberate and important step in this process and if we stand on the sidelines and allow these processes to occur without strong representation, it will be highly detrimental to the private RTO sector. If you work in, own, manage, are contracted by, provide services to a private RTO you have skin in the game to make sure the great work that private RTOs are performing is well represented.
If we do not tell that story and make a submission, we will be underrepresented. We have literally hundreds of great clients who are private providers delivering fantastic vocational education and training to industry. They are often delivering training services that are highly customised for specific workplaces and delivering niche courses to important components of industry who otherwise would not be able to access training. We need to tell that story. If you have a great story to tell about the fantastic training that your organisation is delivering and how this is benefiting industry, you need to make sure that you provide this information to this inquiry via a submission. If they get enough of these submissions to shape their understanding of the perception and status of vocational education and training, it can only inform the government’s understanding of the value of the private RTO sector. Your submission does not have to be hugely technical or lengthy and you only need to address the terms of reference that align with your feedback. Submissions are due by Wednesday 1 March 2023. You can find all of the details including the terms of reference at the link above.
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