Hi to all,

Its fairly interesting what’s happening with all the various reviews at the moment. We have the VET Reform Taskforce, a review into ASQA itself and a House of Representatives Enquiry into TAFE. Well at the end of it all we will certainly know a lot more about ourselves! It seems to me to be an important time to speak-up and have your say. Remember that the world is run by those who turn up.

Ok, just for the record, here is my three point plan for the reform of the VET Sector:

  1. Industry Skills Councils. Consolidate the 12 Industry Skills Councils into one organisation called the Australian Skills Council. I see this as an organisation with 12 distinct industry representative cells. Typically each cell would have a staffing of 4 to 5 senior personnel undertaking training package maintenance and development. These personnel would be supported by an administrative and management section which would handle the corporate function of the organisation. This reflects the fact that we have a mature national skills framework that is very much in maintenance phase of its lifespan. By consolidating this function into the one organisation it would enable better direction and quality control over training package maintenance and lead to obvious cost saving for us the tax payer. We did this back in 2005 when we consolidated the 26 ITABS into 11 ISC and its time to take the next step. I also suggest that the cycle of Training Package revision should be changed from a continuous improvement cycle to a four-five year cycle. This would give much needed stability to training providers and provide a predictable basis for the project management of Training Package maintenance. Seriously, our investment to build a national skills framework is sunk. The job is done and congratulations to all those who contributed. Now is the time to maintain the asset and reap the productivity benefits from our investment.
  2. VET Sector Regulation. Maintain the Australian Skills Quality Authority but with needed cultural change in its approach to sector regulation. We need to get back to a situation where the regulator is approachable, collaborative and supportive of providers to improve the quality of their practices. We need the publication of guidelines that supplement the standards and provide explanatory information about how to comply with standards. We need a regulator that provides professional development workshops aimed at strengthening compliance and improving the quality of outcomes providers are achieving. We need a regulatory model that acknowledges continuous improvement opportunities as a valid outcome of a regulatory process. We need far greater specificity in the standards to remove the variability in interpretation that occurs every day between auditors. We need a national approach to auditor moderation that supports the reliability of audit interpretations and removes the subjective influence of auditors. It must also be a priority of COAG to bring all states under a single regulator.
  3. Government Subsidised Training. Change the current funding model to enable the training and assessment services provided by RTO’s to directly link with job outcomes. We could do this by establishing direct links between providers, Job Agencies and Apprenticeship Centres. This already occurs to some degree but there is a huge amount of funding flowing into qualifications where there is no direct link between an individual and the placement into a job either during or at the end of their training. If it does not link to a job outcome then it does not qualify for funding. The funding model needs to provide certainty to providers and be commercially viable. Acknowledging this, we need to ensure that every tax dollar spent on a training place is directly linked to achieving a job outcome for the individual. This would require an end to end approach to connect job opportunities with training services that leads to employment outcomes. This should be the basis for government funding of all providers both public and private under a competitive model. This would result in a more measurable spend on government subsidised training and encourage growth in the fee-for-service market for courses that are truly professional development based. This would require true collaboration and case management of individuals between providers and job agencies to work. I know this is a big jump from where we are at today but, hey, this is what we are meant to be doing!

That’s my say. Have you had your say yet? If not, do it today and send your input to: vettaskforce@industry.gov.au

Good training!

Joe Newbery

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Compliance and Regulatory News

ASQA update

ASQA Update March 2014. A link is provided to the most recent ASQA Update published on 31 March 2014. Some of the news items were already reported in the last VET News. New items worth noting are:

  • 2014 strategic reviews. ASQA advises that its review of early childhood education and care training is progressing. The management committee overseeing the review has been appointed and ASQA is currently undertaking audits of randomly selected training providers. Work will commence on the strategic reviews for equine and security training later in the year.
  • Recording of audits. ASQA has established a policy position regarding the audio and/or video recording of audits. In all states and territories, consent of the parties is generally required for conversations to be recorded. Auditors working for or on behalf of ASQA will not consent to audits being recorded and ASQA auditors are not permitted to make any audio or video recording of audit activities.
  • Fees for CRICOS change of scope. ASQA reminds CRICOS providers that they must submit a change of scope application for the RTO registration via ASQAnet and then email or fax the application for the CRICOS change of scope within one business day. RTOs who fail to follow this submission requirement may incur two application processing fees.
  • Printing invoices and receipts in ASQAnet. Instructions are provided for printing application-related invoices and receipts through ASQAnet.
  • Keeping credit card information secure. Tips are provided for keeping credit card details secure when making payments to ASQA.

Full details of these and other news items are available at the following link.

VET Reform Taskforce

LinkedIn Group. The VET Reform Taskforce is facilitating a LinkedIn group to provide a platform for online discussion topics. The approach being taken is that the Taskforce poses questions to elicit input from group members. If you would like to join the discussion, go to the following link.

Workshops. Since the last VET News the Taskforce added some webinar sessions to supplement its face-to-face workshops around the country. Unfortunately at the time of writing, all scheduled webinars were fully subscribed. If you would like more timely information about engagement activities you may like to subscribe to updates from the Taskforce at the following link.

COAG Industry and Skills Council Meeting

On 3 April 2014 the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, chaired the inaugural meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council in Brisbane, attended by state and territory ministers. Australian government ministers made a new commitment to ensuring industry has the skilled workforce and operating environment it needs to boost the nation’s productivity and increase international competitiveness. Read the meeting Communiqué and the Minister’s media release at the links below.


Student Identifier Bill introduced

The federal government has introduced legislation to establish a national life-long, unique identifier for vocational education and training (VET) students. The Student Identifiers Bill 2014 was introduced on 27 March 2014 by the Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, on behalf of Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane. The Minister’s second reading speech can be accessed at the following link.

Compliance monitoring audits for TAC-registered RTOs

The Training Accreditation Council (TAC) has published a frequently asked questions document regarding the Compliance Monitoring Audit (CMA), that will come into effect from 1 May 2014 for TAC-registered RTOs. The FAQs can be accessed at the following link.

VRQA Annual Client and Stakeholder Research 2013

Each year the VRQA conducts an annual survey measuring aspects of provider and stakeholder satisfaction with the VRQA and its regulatory processes. A summary of the VRQA Annual Client and Stakeholder Research 2013 has been published on the VRQA website. The link below will take you to the VRQA News page. You’ll find the link to the publication under a news item dated 7 March 2014.


Training Package News

Recent Training Package endorsements/updates

  • TLI10 Transport and Logistics – Release 4.2 – 18 March 2014
  • UEG11 Gas Industry – Release 2.0 – 13 March 2014

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


Events, Resources & Funding News

Australian apprenticeship & traineeship update

Click on the link below to view the Training Package qualifications recently implemented in States and Territories. Information is current as at 31 March 2014.

Pre-apprenticeships course finder

The Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships (AAT) Information Service publishes a ‘Pre-apprenticeships Course Finder’ (PCF) allowing course providers to upload pre-apprenticeship type courses to an online database. This allows people to search for courses by location and broad industry groups. The resource receives approximately 5000 visits per month, mainly from jobseekers, students and their support service providers, so it is a good promotional avenue for course providers to reach this audience. Course providers are encouraged to upload relevant pre-apprenticeship course information to this free service. Find out more at the following link.

2014 Australian Training Awards

The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia. There are seven ‘direct-entry’ awards and applications for these close on Friday 30 May 2013. For more information on the 2014 Australian Training Awards, visit the link below.

Preparing for Smart and Skilled

State Training Services has published information on its website that provides RTOs with guidance about what they can be doing to prepare for applying for a Contract in 2015. Use the following link to access the information.

IBSA workshops for BSB changes

IBSA will be running two series of interactive half day workshops in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane during April 2014. These will cover the upcoming changes to leadership and management qualifications and work health and safety qualifications. For more information about the workshops, click on the link below.

New local government careers website

The new Local Government Careers website was developed and has been launched by Government Skills Australia (GSA). The website is an interactive career search tool designed to promote the local government sector. It also aims to assist the VET sector to meet the training needs of local government by linking job roles to VET qualifications. It allows RTOs and trainers to improve their understanding of local government training needs and the qualifications required by their workforces. Visit the website at the following link.

The 2014 National VET Conference

The 2014 National VET Conference will be delivered over two days from 11-12 September 2014 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. The theme for the two day conference is ‘Impossible is Possible Together’ and will focus on three distinct streams: Policy and Reform, RTO Management & Compliance and Training & Assessing. Go to the following link for more information and registration details.


Recent VET publications

Retail workforce study: March 2014
Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency in association with Service Skills Australia

The report puts forward recommendations to build an adaptive, skilled and innovative retail industry workforce. The study finds that to ensure a capable and committed workforce into the future, the industry must shift its recruitment profile towards a larger share of recruits who see retail as a career. A more highly skilled workforce, together with strong industry leadership, will be critical to a successful transition for the industry.

Environmental Scan 2014
Service Skills Australia

Service Skills Australia’s 2014 Environmental Scans were launched on 4th March at the 2014 by SSA Chair, Ian Blandthorn AM. Separate environmental scans are available for:

  • Service Skills Australia
  • Tourism, Travel & Hospitality
  • Sport, Fitness & Recreation
  • Wholesale, Retail & Personal Services


Refining models and approaches in continuing education and training
Stephen Billett, Sarojni Choy, Darryl Dymock, Ray Smith, Ann Kelly, Mark Tyler, Amanda Henderson, Jason Lewis, Fred Beven

Interviews with workers and managers show differences in preferred models of training, depending on the purpose of the training. When the purpose is to remain current and employable, to advance careers or to bring about the workplace change, then workplace and practice-based models are the most valued. However, when the purpose is to secure employment or change jobs then educational institution-based models are more favoured. This is the second report coming out of a three-year program of research which aims to investigate how the tertiary education and training system might best be organised to maintain the employability of workers across their working lives.
RESEARCH REPORT: Refining models and approaches in continuing education and training

Transitioning from vocational education and training to university: strengthening information literacy through collaboration
Sonia White

Students transitioning from vocational education and training (VET) to university can experience a number of challenges. This small research project explored the information literacy needs of VET and university students and how they differ. Students studying early childhood related VET and university courses reported differences in how and where they searched for information in their studies. These differences reflect the more practical focus of VET compared with the more academic and theoretical approach of university.
RESEARCH REPORT: Transitioning from vocational education and training to university: strengthening information literacy through collaboration

Educational outcomes: the impact of aspirations and the role of student background characteristics
Jacqueline Homel, Chris Ryan

The authors examine the relationships between student background characteristics, educational aspirations and educational outcomes using data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY). The methodology involved econometric analyses to determine whether student background factors influence Year 12 completion and university participation only via their indirect impact on aspirations.
RESEARCH REPORT: Educational outcomes: the impact of aspirations and the role of student background characteristics
MEDIA RELEASE: Students’ aspirations significantly impact their educational outcomes

The contribution of education to economic growth in Australia, 1997-2009
Tom Karmel

Using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Education and Training, Tom Karmel estimates the impact of increasing education levels on economic growth in Australia between 1997 and 2009. He finds that increasing education levels are contributing to improved productivity at a rate of 0.14% per annum as well as having had a considerable impact on the hours worked by the Australian workforce.
RESEARCH REPORT: The contribution of education to economic growth in Australia, 1997-2009

The factors affecting the educational and occupational aspirations of young Australians
Sinan Gemici, Alice Bednarz, Tom Karmel, Patrick Lim

The authors examine factors that influence young people’s plans to complete Year 12, their aspirations to commence university study in the first year after leaving school and their expected occupation at age 30. They also examine the extent to which the occupational aspirations of teenagers align with their actual job outcomes a decade later. The findings in this report demonstrate just how important parents and peers are in relation to young people’s aspirations.
RESEARCH REPORT: The factors affecting the educational and occupational aspirations of young Australians


Other News of Interest

Queensland introduces Bill to give RTOs access to TAFE infrastructure

The Queensland Training Assets Management Authority Bill, presented to Parliament on 4 March 2014, provides for the transfer of ownership of the State’s training infrastructure from the Department of Education, Training and Employment to a commercial asset manager – Queensland Training Assets Management Authority (QTAMA). QTAMA will be formally created by an act of Parliament to take effect on 1 July 2014. Read more at the following links:

House of Representatives Inquiry into TAFE

On 19 March 2014 TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) gave evidence on the first day of hearings of the newly established House of Representatives Inquiry into TAFE. It called for stricter criteria for the funding of high risk registered training organisations (RTOs) and highlighted delays in the implementation of a risk framework that was creating undue compliance costs for high quality RTOs. Read the TDA media release at the following link.

Using video as an effective learning and assessment tool

The National VET E-learning Strategy notes that videos can be a highly effective training tool, and a useful way to capture evidence of student competency. It has supported this with some useful information about video sharing and the range of tools that are available in this space. See the link below.


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

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