Well, happy birthday to us!!! VET News is two years old this month and still going strong. Thank you to all of our loyal subscribers for all the great feedback we receive. I would like to especially thank Anne Maree Newbery (big sister) for her tireless effort every month to search through the multitude of information that various agencies put out to select and present our news items every month. Anne Maree has an eye for relevance and importance and this comes through based on the feedback we receive. I am also pleased that we have kept VET News as a free newsletter and add free.
I hope you enjoy this edition. I especially liked the Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: Pocket Guide mentioned in the “Recent VET Publications” section. Definitely worth a look. There is also a news article on the moves the Abbott Government are making to restart the international student market. Here we go again!
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Compliance and Regulatory News
ASQA approves tuition assurance scheme. ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the regulator had approved the Australian Council for Private Education and Training’s (ACPET) Australian Student Tuition Assurance Scheme (ASTAS) as a suitable measure to protect the fees prepaid by students.
The primary focus of ASTAS is to provide assurance to domestic students that they will receive the training for which they have paid. Where an RTO is unable to provide the training for which it has received payment, the student will be placed with a suitable alternative training provider or receive a refund of fees for training not provided.
ACPET’s ASTAS is currently the only tuition assurance scheme for domestic students that is approved and recognised by ASQA. You can find out more about ASTAS at the following ACPET website link.
Referring student complaints to ASQA. ASQA has repeated its recent reminder regarding the referral of students to ASQA in the event of a complaint. The important points are that ASQA does not act in a mediation capacity and students should be referred to ASQA’s online complaint form to initiate a complaint. Students should be advised that complaints should only be made to ASQA after exhausting an RTO’s internal complaints procedure. Access the ASQA complaint information at the following link.
Information sessions postponed. ASQA will delay the next round of its RTO information sessions to the new year to allow the sessions to focus on any new standards being developed by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC). Read more at the following link.
ASQA annual report tabled in parliament. ASQA’s second annual report was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 31 October 2013. The report summarises ASQA’s regulatory and financial performance and key developments during the 2012-13 financial year. Access the report at the following link.
October invoicing update. As outlined in ASQA’s 31 July 2013 Fee Schedule, ASQA’s intention is that providers pay their registration assessment fees upfront when making an application. Currently, providers pay the assessment fee after lodging an application, when ASQA issues an invoice. ASQA has delayed implementation of this change, pending release of an upgrade to ASQAnet. This ASQAnet upgrade is scheduled for early 2014.
In December 2013, ASQA will invoice the annual registration fee for the period January 2014 to December 2014 for providers that:
Transferred to ASQA from NSW VETAB, and
Have a VETAB-approved registration period that still applies at 31 December 2013 (i.e. it has not been superseded by an ASQA-approved registration period that commences before 1 January 2014).
NSSC Communiqué 14 – October 2013
The National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) met on Wednesday 9 October 2013, and discussed a range of matters, including VET regulator activity and the implementation of VET standards, the review of VET provider standards and regulator standards, implementation of Training Packages, Standards for VET Accredited Courses, and Training Package Cases for Endorsement. Read the Communiqué at the following link.
Consultation paper on VET Graduation Statement
During 2012, the Australian Qualifications Framework Council was requested by the Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE) to investigate options for introducing a national approach to providing VET graduates with information about the qualification pathways available to them on the basis of the award of an AQF qualification. An investigation into the issues during 2012 recommended that it was feasible to document these pathways through the introduction of a VET Graduation Statement modelled on the existing national and international graduation statements.
To take this project forward the AQF Council released a consultation paper on the development of a VET Graduation Statement and is aimed to stimulate discussion and to identify potential design and implementation issues. Click on the link below to access the paper.
Training Package News
Recent Training Package endorsements/updates
FPI11 Forest and Forest Products – Release 2.2 – 28 October 2013
PMA08 Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining – Release 4.1 – 23 October 2013
MSS11 Sustainability – Release 2.2 – 15 October 2013
SIF Funeral Services – Release 2.0 – 10 October 2013
CHC08 Community Services – Release 4.2 – 4 October 2013
For details of release information go to http://training.gov.au/
LLN unit transition in the TAE10 Training Package
As reported in the ACPET National Monday Update on 28 October 2013, an ASQA RTO can only offer/deliver/issue a statement of attainment for a unit if the unit is a core unit or a named elective within the packaging rules of a qualification that is on the scope of registration for the RTO. If the unit is not a core or named elective unit in the packaging rules of a qualification on the scope of registration then an application must be made for the unit to be explicitly listed (and only offered when/if the application has been granted).
The unit TAELLN411 has not yet been listed as a core or named elective within TAE40110 or any other qualification within the TAE10 Training Package (only within the TAESS00009 Address Foundation Skills in Vocational Practice Skill Set) and therefore needs to be applied for separately at this stage.
RII Training Package FAQs and Fact Sheets
SkillsDMC have made available FAQs and a Fact Sheets to complement the Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package which was endorsed by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) at their meeting held on the 9th of October. Click on the link below to access the resources.
Events, Resources & Funding News
Staged implementation of Smart and Skilled
Smart and Skilled reforms are being implemented in NSW to increase participation and achievement in the vocational education and training sector. The NSW Government is undertaking a staged implementation of Smart and Skilled which includes an entitlement to government subsidised training, commencing from 1 January 2015.
The next step will be the release of the NSW Skills List and Quality Framework, planned for December 2013. Current training market contracts will be rolled over into 2014. Training funded through the training market in 2014 will be based on the Skills List. Click on the link below for more information, including the Smart and Skilled implementation timeline.
Australian apprenticeship and traineeship update
Click on the link below to view the qualifications that have recently been implemented in States and Territories as at 30 October 2013.
Qld Community Learning projects announced
The Queensland Government has announced the first 23 training projects and a new round of funding under the Community Learning program. Community Learning is a new five-year $47 million program that provides extra support for learners with diverse needs. The 23 successful projects will deliver nationally recognised, community-based training to disadvantaged learners across Queensland. Click on the link below to find out more.
IBSA stakeholder workshops for TAE
IBSA will be conducting consultation for its project to review restructured training products from the TAE10 Training Package prior to their migration to the TAE Training Package by June 2014. Click on the link below for workshop details.
Recent VET publications
Skills in Australia 2012: Five years of performance
COAG Reform Council
Five years of reporting reveals Australia has a more qualified workforce. With workforce qualification levels rising and more people completing VET courses, more than half of working age Australians now have a higher level qualification.
Education and Training Newsletter, October 2013
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Perspectives on Regional Australia: Non-school Qualifications in Regions, 2011
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Vocational qualifications outnumbered university level qualifications by two to one in the regional areas of Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
“In the cities we saw little difference between the number of people with uni degrees and the number of people with vocational qualifications,” said Lisa Connolly from the ABS, “but outside the big cities, there were more than twice the number of vocational qualifications compared to degrees and diplomas.”
The rates of attainment for tertiary qualifications varied widely across Australia, from a low of about one-third to a high of two-thirds, and the highest rates were generally in and around the capital cities.
Skilled migrant women in regional Australia: promoting social inclusion through vocational education and training
Sue Webb, Denise Beale, Miriam Faine
Technical and vocational education institutions have a wider role to play in assisting skilled migrants and their families to better integrate into the labour market and the community, according to a new study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
“VET institutions can assist the spouses of skilled migrants by explaining and offering recognition of prior learning and providing advice on how educational opportunities relate to jobs in the Australian context,” said Sue Fergusson, NCVER’s General Manager Research.
Financial information 2012
This publication provides information on how public vocational education and training (VET) in Australia is financed and where the money is spent. The publication is based on 2012 data provided by the Australian state and territory departments responsible for administering public funds for Australia’s VET system.
Australian vocational education and training statistics: pocket guide
This booklet provides a snapshot of NCVER’s current statistical publications. It presents statistics about Australia’s public vocational education and training (VET) system, which includes activity undertaken at technical and further education (TAFE) institutes, other government providers, community education providers and publicly funded delivery by private providers; apprentices and trainees who are undertaking vocational training through a contract of training; expenditures and revenues of the public VET system; tertiary education and training; and young people’s participation in education and training.
Employers’ use and views of the VET system 2013
This survey collects information about employers’ use and views of the vocational education and training (VET) system and the various ways employers use the VET system to meet their skill needs. Information collected is designed to measure employers’ engagement and satisfaction with the VET system.
Slower economic growth, and lower business confidence in 2013 has seen Australian employers reduce their use of training. The survey report shows the proportion of employers using the vocational education and training (VET) system to meet their skills needs in 2013 has decreased by 4.2 percentage points to 51.9% from 2011.
Entry to the vocations: strengthening VET in Schools
How VET in Schools can be strengthened to provide stronger links to post-school pathways is explored in this report. Integrating vocational learning into the general disciplinary curriculum or having a school-based vocational program separate from the Australian Qualifications Framework qualifications were identified as possible ways to strengthen VET in Schools. The author also proposes a ‘programmatic’ approach to VET in Schools, whereby study is focused on a specific industry rather than an occupation.
Other News of Interest
Number of people finishing training rising
The number of people likely to complete publicly funded training shows signs of steadily increasing, up from 28.9% for people who started training in 2008 to 35.5% for those who started in 2011. The data, published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), is based on statistical techniques used to estimate completion rates. Read more at the following link.
New shadow minister for vocational education
The Federal Labor Opposition has followed the approach of the Abbott government in aligning skills and training within the industry portfolio under its Shadow Ministry. The new Shadow Minister for Vocational Education is Sharon Bird. Ms Bird will be the junior minister in the broader Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry shadow portfolio under Senator Kim Carr. See a media release from Shadow Minister Bird at the following link.
WA government to review training system
The West Australian government has announced an independent review of the State’s vocational education and training sector. Training and Workforce Development Minister Terry Redman has appointed Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares to undertake the review. The Minister said it will identify pathways towards greater autonomy and innovation, while ensuring the sustainability of regional training facilities. See the Minister’s media release at the following link.
Queensland explores alternative trade pathways
The Queensland Government is investing $1 million in a pilot program to investigate alternative training pathways in the building and construction industry. The Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the Registered Trade Skills Pathway Construction Pilot Program offered existing workers an alternative to a traditional apprenticeship to gain a Certificate III qualification and be formally recognised as a tradesperson. See the Minister’s media release at the following link.
Redundancies at Brisbane TAFE
As reported in the Courier Mail on 25 October 2013, a new wave of redundancies is rolling through Queensland’s TAFE sector with about 50 staff – 40 administrative staff and 10 teachers – set to lose their jobs at Brisbane North Institute of TAFE. Queensland Teacher’s Union president Kevin Bates said it was the latest hit to the sector still reeling from hundreds of job losses in the past 18 months. Figures released in July showed 349 redundancies had been accepted by TAFE staff around the state between March 2012 and June 30 this year.
Government loosens student visa restrictions
As reported in The Australian on 30 October 2013, the Abbott government has moved to loosen visa restrictions to attract international students, prompting calls for increased funding for regulators to ensure there is no return to the “visa factory” that marked the height of the 2008-09 higher education boom. From next year, tougher restrictions on students from countries with the highest risk of visa fraud will be scrapped, effectively reducing the cash such applicants are required to have in the bank to support themselves during their study.
The government has also fast-tracked a decision to extend streamlined visa processing beyond the university sector to 22 TAFEs and private providers that deliver bachelor degrees and higher qualifications.
The government wants to boost international student revenue from about $15 billion last year back to the former peak of almost $19 billion. Immigration minister Scott Morrison said: “The changes will assist all providers, but particularly the vocational education and training sector, making access to Australia’s education system more attractive for overseas students.
Limited travel concessions for international students in Victoria
Victorian premier Denis Napthine has announced Victoria’s latest international education strategy, at a cost of $17.5 million over four years. International education is easily Victoria’s biggest export industry, bringing in about $4.4 billion a year.
The strategy includes the establishment of a Victorian international education advisory body, the annual provision of 150 internship placements as part of the Study Melbourne Internship Program a new transnational education fund to help Victorian providers develop offshore training and skills programs and a trial public transport concession scheme for international students.
The issue of public travel concessions has long been a sticking point with international students in Victoria. States and territories apart from NSW and Victoria give international students access to the full range of concessions available to their domestic counterparts. Read more at the following link.
Agrifood workers need training according to AWPA
A report released by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) on Australia’s food industry has found the industry needs more highly skilled workers if it is to capitalise on growth opportunities. Currently less than 40% of workers in agriculture and fishing and 45% in food processing have a post-school qualification, compared to Australia’s all-industries average of 62%. Read more at the link below.
The news articles presented in this edition of VET News have been researched and prepared by Anne Maree Newbery.
Copyright © 2013 Newbery Consulting All rights reserved.