Hi there,

The news items aren’t so sensational at the moment, but still lots happening. For all of our RTO Data users, we are close to finalising our USI functionality. In addition to the updated RTO Data (Ver 4.5, maybe early Oct), all users will also need to obtain a Device AUSkey which is not something well understood out there in Training Land. I think the USI people have done a good job of engaging with the sector, but this little requirement seems to be flying a bit under the radar.

In short,, if you are an RTO owner or senior manager, you will need to register for a Device AUSkey so that your system can transact with the USI System. Just note that a Device AUSKey is different from the normal run of the mil computer or USB AUSKey. The difference is that a Device AUSKey identifies your business instead of you personally. You can check out more information about registering for a Device AUSKey at the following link: https://abr.gov.au/AUSkey/AUSkey-explained/

Enjoy the news and good training!

Joe Newbery

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Compliance and Regulatory News

ASQA update

ASQA’s new website. If you have been to asqa.gov.au lately you will have noticed the shiny new website design. It looks pretty and once we got used to the new navigation it seems a little more user-friendly than the last version. The new Help Centre with a new ‘Browse by topic’ feature for FAQs is a useful addition. We also like the page titled ‘ASQA resources’. It’s a great jumping off point, with links to the Video Centre, Fact Sheets, Help Centre, General Directions, Standards, Forms, Guides and Latest News. It could be a good home page for your internet browser if you’re frequently accessing the ASQA website!

Formal response to ASQA Process Review. ASQA has published a formal response to the ASQA Process Review: Final Report. Access the response at the link below.
http://asqa.gov.au/news/2380/response-to-the-asqa-process-review.html

Training package qualifications to be updated on CRICOS. As of 24 July 2014, ASQA will extend a reform previously implemented for registered training organisations (RTOs) to providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). The extension of this reform means that ASQA will begin updating equivalent training package qualifications on CRICOS without requiring an application or fee. Find out more at the following link.
http://asqa.gov.au/news/2384/training-package-qualifications-to-be-updated-on-cricos.html

Policy change regarding VET accredited English courses. ASQA Commissioners have reviewed a recent policy decision made on 5 March 2014 regarding the need for all VET Accredited English courses to be registered on CRICOS as ELICOS. Click on the link below for more information.
http://asqa.gov.au/news/2316/are-you-planning-to-offer-a-vet-accredited-english-course-to-overseas-students-on-student-visas.html

ASQA doesn’t endorse any commercial products. ASQA recently became aware of a website implying that the software it was promoting was endorsed or “proven” by ASQA as satisfying the required of the National Vocational Education and Training Provider Collection Data Requirements Policy. This claim is incorrect and ASQA wrote to the website’s owner requesting that the claim be removed.

VET reform

Discussion paper released for the Industry Skills Fund. A Discussion Paper has been developed to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to submit feedback to the Australian Government on the design and implementation arrangements for the $476 million Industry Skills Fund. Access the Discussion Paper at the link below.
http://www.vetreform.industry.gov.au/news/discussion-paper-released-476-million-industry-skills-fund

Trade Support Loans commence. Following the passage of legislation, the Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, announced the introduction of the Trade Support Loans Programme which commenced in July 2014. Find out more at the following link.
http://www.vetreform.industry.gov.au/news/trade-support-loans-commence

TAC update

Changes to course accreditation arrangements commencing 1 August 2014. TAC has made some changes that apply to course accreditation applications received on or after 1 August 2014.Read the TAC news article at the link below.
http://www.tac.wa.gov.au/newsandevent/Pages/TAC-Special-Bulletin—Notification-of-Changes-to-Course-Accreditation-Arrangements-August-2014.aspx

NCVER supporting total VET activity reporting

NCVER is undertaking a number of initiatives to support RTOs prepare for total VET activity reporting. To assist small providers, the AVETMISS Data Entry Tool is available. While it is not a replacement for a student management system, it generates AVETMISS-compliant data files, which can then be validated using the online AVETMISS Validation Software. To access links to a range of NCVER resources on total VET activity reporting, click on the link below.
NCVER eNewsletter item
 

Training sessions for approved HELP providers

The Department of Education will be conducting training sessions for approved HELPproviders throughout 2014. This training is suitable for recently approved HELPproviders or existing HELP providers that wish to refresh their knowledge. Find out more at the link below.
http://www.education.gov.au/help-approved-provider-training

Training Package News

Extension to transition and teach-out period for RII

As reported in the last VET News, Skills DMC is expected to complete its review of the Assessment Requirements in RII by the end of October 2014. For RTOs that haven’t already transitioned from RII09, this won’t leave much time.

To minimise any unnecessary impact on RTOs, SkillsDMC requested a six month extension to the Transition and Teach-out period. This request was accepted by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, ASQA, TAC, and VRQA. The Transition period for the RII Training Package will now conclude on 14 May 2015. RTOs impacted by this extension should receive formal advice from the relevant regulator in due course.

Events, Resources & Funding News

Australian apprenticeship & traineeship update

Click on the link below to view the latest Training Package qualifications recently implemented in States and Territories. Information is current at 1 August 2014.
http://www.aatinfo.com.au/getattachment/c7c3874b-6388-4686-bddc-1e33ed806789/file.aspx
 

National Foundation Skills Strategy Project

The National Foundation Skills Strategy Project (NFSS) 2014-2015 is a joint initiative by Australian governments to support priority action areas from the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. NFSS Project builds on the 2013-2014 Foundation Skills Workforce Development (FSWD) Project, encompassing some elements of FSWD Project and introducing new initiatives to support the Strategy for Adults. Read further information at the link below.
http://www.dfeest.sa.gov.au/About-us/Our-Department/Initiatives-programs/National-Foundation-Skills-Strategy-Project#research
 

Guide to vocational placement for Queensland RTOs

From 29 June 2014, the Queensland Government’s legislative power to recognise and regulate vocational placement schemes expired. To RTOs in navigating the new arrangements for vocational placement, DETE has developed a Guide to Vocational Placement for Queensland registered training organisations. Click on the link to access the resources.
http://www.training.qld.gov.au/training-organisations/vocational-placement/index.html
 

New e-Learning resources from IBSA

IBSA has announced the release of new SCORM-compliant e-learning resources for a range of BSB07 Business Services and TAE10 Training and Education units.
Click on the link to find out more.
https://www.ibsa.org.au/news/new-e-learning-resources-released

Recent VET publications

Does financial stress impact on young people in tertiary study?
Nhi Nguyen, Sian Halliday-Wynes

The focus of this paper is a consideration of the role that financial stress plays on a student’s study outcomes and their study decisions. In particular, the paper explores whether individual circumstances may influence this relationship; for example, whether the combination of work and study or living status (living independently compared with living with parents) contributes to financial stress.
Research Report 30 July 2014
 

Quality assessments: practice and perspectives
Sinan Gemici, Josie Misko, John Stanwick, Sian Halliday-Wynes

The quality and rigour of assessments in vocational education and training (VET) have been a key concern of VET policy-makers. This potentially raises issues with the credibility of VET qualifications and the competence of the graduates who hold these qualifications. The authors consider the issues surrounding assessment in certificate III qualifications in aged care, electro-technology (electrical) and business. Validation is seen as being more important than moderation, which is still not fully understood or practised in a way that is commonly accepted by assessment experts and commentators. Moreover, the streamlining of recognition of prior learning is still not occurring to any great extent. The authors also explore the knowledge and practical application of the assessment of VET practitioners and identify tensions relating to where practitioners put their efforts in ensuring quality assessments.
Research Report 25 July 2014
 

The Forrest Review
Andrew Forrest

Jobs are the key to improving opportunities for all Australians. The Commonwealth Government believes more needs to be done to boost Indigenous employment and support Indigenous Australians to get ahead. All Australians yearn to see practical and genuine improvement in the lives of Indigenous people.
To address this, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, asked Mr. Andrew Forrest to lead a Review of Indigenous Training and Employment Programmes. The Review has now been finalised and Mr. Forrest has provided his final report to the Prime Minister. Refer to the link below.
https://indigenousjobsandtrainingreview.dpmc.gov.au/forrest-review

Other News of Interest

Possible changes to HECS repayment proposal

As reported in The Age on 1 August 2014, the federal government is expected to ditch one of its most controversial budget measures – the plan to apply real interest rates to student debts – following advice from the architect of the HECS repayment scheme that it is unfair to poor graduates. Read more at the following link.
http://the-scan.com/2014/08/01/govt-likely-to-modify-hecs-repayment-proposal/
 

More people completing training

According to a media release by the NCVER on 7 August 2014, national completion rates are slowly rising, with the percentage of people likely to complete publicly funded training rising from 32.1% for those who enrolled in 2009, to 35.8% in 2012. Read more at the following link.
NCVER Media Release 7/8/2014
 

Seven research grants awarded to address education & training issues

Research grants have been awarded to seven recipients, to investigate current issues in the vocational education and training sector, by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Read more at the link below.
NCVER Media Release 24 July 2014
 

International enrolments up 10%

The latest monthly international enrolment and commencement report shows a 10% increase in full-fee paying international students on May last year. Read more at the link below.
http://the-scan.com/2014/07/21/international-enrolments-up-10/
 

iCollege sails close to the wind

As reported in The Australian on 16 July 2014, iCollege, an online education start-up, has defended its claims to be accredited by an international accreditation agency – the International Vocational Standards and Accreditation Agency (IVSAA) – that is registered to its own address, saying an equivalent couldn’t be found so they had to set up their own. Read more at the link below.
http://the-scan.com/2014/07/20/icollege-sails-close-to-the-wind/
 

Setting non-university student subsidy gets tricky

With the Higher Education Legislation and Financing Working Group having delivered its advice to the government on extending public subsidies to student places at non-university higher education providers, the speculation is that it will be proposing a considerably lower rate for these providers and for sub-degree programs. Read more at the link below.
http://the-scan.com/2014/07/17/setting-non-university-student-subsidy-gets-tricky/
 

Pow Wow folds

As reported in The Australian on 5 July 2014 Pow Wow Australia, a Melbourne-based RTO the subject of quality concerns, has gone into voluntary liquidation. It had about 500 students. Read more at the link below.
http://the-scan.com/2014/07/07/pow-wow-folds/
 

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