Hi everyone,

Wow. How much change can happen in four weeks! There has been some significant developments in the last month. Of particular note is the automatic scope update for equivalent qualifications and units of competency. That will make a big difference for RTOs and is a great change to come out of the ongoing VET reform. Of course the other notable item is the release of the new draft RTO Standards. Unlike the last ones, I think we can expect that these will be implemented so it is important to have your say during this short review process.

I have undertaken my own review of the proposed RTO Standards which you can access at the following link: Click Here

The VET Reform Taskforce has advised that written submissions from interested stakeholders on the revised standards are to sent to: vettaskforce@industry.gov.au. The closing date for submissions is 17:00 (AEST) Wednesday, 23 July 2014. Make sure you have your say and feel free to use any information from my review to incorporate into your own submission.

Enjoy the news and good training!

Joe Newbery

As always we invite new subscribers at: Subscribe to VET News

If you have some news, send it to us at: news@newberyconsulting.com.au


Compliance and Regulatory News

ASQA update

TEQSA and ASQA MOU. A 2014-2016 MOU has been signed between TEQSA and ASQA and signifies a continued commitment to the collaboration between the two agencies that began in 2011. This MOU has a specific focus on supporting the Government’s initiatives to reduce unnecessary or duplicate regulation. Read the ASQA news article at the link below.

New ASQA website. ASQA has launched a revised website in its first steps to enhance and increase the information that it shares with providers. The main features of the new site include:
An expanded help centre, with frequently asked questions on the topics providers have requested
An improved search function, making it easier to find what you’re looking for
More information for providers of courses to overseas students
A new video centre where you can view and rate ASQA’s videos about aspects of the VET regulation process.
Read the ASQA news article at the link below.

Automatic scope change for equivalent updates. From 1 July 2014, equivalent training package products (qualifications and/or units of competency) will be automatically added to an RTO’s scope of registration without requiring an application or a fee. Those providers that do not wish to have the new, equivalent product on scope can choose to opt-out through a simple application process for which there is no fee. Read the ASQA news article at the link below.

Chris Robinson’s presentation to the National Skills Summit. Chris Robinson presented to the National Skills Summit on 25 June 2014, hosted by the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). The presentation provided summary data and conclusions from the first three years of national VET regulation as well as insight to how ASQA intends to implement reforms to its regulatory processes over the 2014-15 financial year. Access the presentation slides at the following link.

Removal of financial viability risk assessments for renewal of registration. From 1 July 2014 ASQA has removed the requirement for an automatic financial viability risk assessment as part of the renewal of registration process for most private and community training providers who have been registered for less than five years. An exception will be applied to extreme high-risk providers. Read the ASQA news article at the following link.

New videos on ASQA’s YouTube channel. The following two new videos have been added to the ASQA YouTube channel:
RTO reporting requirements
How to apply to ASQA for CRICOS registration
Access the videos at the following link:

VET Reform

Minister’s vision for VET. On 25 June 2014, Minister for Industry, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP outlined his vision for a more accessible and responsive national training system that gives businesses the skilled workers they need now, and into the future. Read the media release at the link below.

Draft provider and regulator standards released for consultation. On 25 June 2014, Minister for Industry, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP released the new draft provider and regulator standards for consultation. You can access the documents at the following link.

Also, see the link below for scheduled consultation events for the draft standards.

ASQA process review. Minister Macfarlane has released information on the independent review of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) commissioned by the former ministerial council. He stated that “The process review makes a number of really useful findings for how improvements can be made to the way ASQA operates that are consistent with what we are hearing from the VET reform process.” To find out more and to access the report, click in the following link.

Legislation passes for the student identifiers scheme. The passage of the Student Identifiers Act 2014 through the Senate confirms the 1 January 2015 start date for the Unique Student Identifier (USI) scheme. This will provide a national online authenticated record of students’ training attainment and will serve as a building block for a range of vocational education and training reforms. Read Minister Macfarlane’s media release at the link below.

TAC Update

Automatic scope change for equivalent updates. In line with ASQA’s announcement, TAC has confirmed that from 1 July 2014, equivalent training package products (qualifications and/or units of competency) will be automatically added to an RTO’s scope of registration without requiring an application or a fee. Those providers that do not wish to have the new, equivalent product on scope can choose to opt-out through a simple application process for which there is no fee. Read the TAC news article at the link below.

Extension to transition period for First Aid units. Community Services & Health Industry Skills Council (CSHISC) has advised that a number of superseded First Aid units from the Health Training Package are being reviewed, and that updated versions of the replacement HLTAID units will be released later in the year.
To allow further time for the review to take place, TAC has agreed to support an extension of the transition period for these superseded units to 31 October 2014. Further information will be provided by CSHISC as it becomes available.

WA review into State Training Providers

The Western Australian Government has released a Final Report of the ‘Independent Review of the Vocational Education and Training Sector in Western Australia’, headed by Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares. The report makes 40 detailed recommendations, including the need for widespread reform focused on improved governance for State Training Providers (STPs), as well as measures to address unnecessary or duplicated reporting and governance requirements. See the report at the following link.


Training Package News

Recent Training Package endorsements/updates

MEM05 Metal and Engineering – Release 11.1 – 5 June 2014
For detailed release information go to http://training.gov.au/

SkillsDMC is reviewing Assessment Conditions for RII

SkillsDMC is conducting a review of the Assessment Requirements for the RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package with a focus on the following four areas:

  • Use of simulation during assessment
  • Prescribed frequency of assessment
  • Prescribed assessor experience and industry currency
  • Possible re-inclusion of the Range of Conditions into units of competency.

This review will commence on Monday 30th June 2014 and is due for completion by Friday 31st October 2014. To find out more, click on the link below.


Events, Resources & Funding News

Queensland’s VET Investment Plan launched

Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek has launched the 2014-15 Annual VET Investment Plan. It details how the Queensland Government will invest its planned $615 million vocational education and training budget for the next financial year. Read further information at the link below.

Applications now opened for NSW Smart and Skilled contracts

Applications are now open for eligible providers to apply for a contract to deliver Smart and Skilled training from 1 January 2015. Applications will close at 5pm on Friday 8 August 2014.Access provider information at the link below.


Recent VET publications

Conference papers for 2014 VALBEC Conference

Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council

The 2014 VALBEC Conference “…and the learning goes on: anytime, anywhere, anyhow, anyone”, explored innovative responses to the ongoing changes in LLN delivery and ways in which the field is responding to the demands of the digital age.

Economic vulnerability in Australia, 2002-12: an employment perspective
Michelle Circelli, John Stanwick

Concerned with ways to characterise economic vulnerability in labour market regions (including metropolitan regions) that are susceptible to structural economic change, the authors look at five indicators of economic vulnerability which were developed to rank regions from the most to the least vulnerable. The authors also looked at a number of government initiatives established to assist industries and individuals in economically vulnerable regions. They found that the manufacturing and retail industries tended to dominate in the most vulnerable regions, although some vulnerable regions did not have clearly dominant industries. In contrast, mining and construction feature in the least vulnerable regions.
Occasional Paper 30 June 2014

Disadvantaged learners and VET to higher education transitions
Tabatha Griffin

How disadvantaged learners participate in VET is an important consideration. Employment and further study outcomes are more likely to result from completing a higher-level VET qualification, but disadvantaged learners tend to enrol in lower-level qualifications. Hence, whether or not disadvantaged learners are transitioning from lower VET qualifications to higher level VET or higher education is of interest. Based on a review of the literature, this paper synthesises what is currently known about these transitions for disadvantaged learners.
Occasional Paper 30 June 2014

An exploration of labour mobility in mining and construction: who moves and why
Georgina Atkinson, Jo Hargreaves

This study explores what motivates people to change jobs and examines the influence of their employer, occupation or industry, and investigates their geographic mobility on either a permanent or temporary basis. The project also explores the extent to which qualifications or licensing requirements represent a barrier for workers considering mobility, particularly in the mining and construction industries. The study finds that the majority of labour mobility decisions are driven by the personal priorities of the individual, including family commitments.
Occasional Paper 23 June 2014

Qualification utilisation: occupational outcomes – overview
Bridget Wibrow

This overview uses information from the Student Outcomes Survey to match the intended occupations of graduates with their destination occupation six months after training. The influence of qualification level, labour force status before training, age, completing only a module and industry area was also examined. Regulated occupations, such as the trades, were found to have much stronger matches between intended and destination occupations. However, many VET graduates who do not end up employed in their intended occupations still found their training to be relevant to their current job and some also ended up employed at a higher skill level than their intended occupation.
Occasional Paper 12 June 2014

Understanding the non-completion of apprentices
Alice Bednarz

Approximately half of all apprenticeship contracts in the trades are not completed. This literature review draws together existing research and data to find out why apprentices do not complete their training. The report finds that the most common reasons for not completing are employment-related. These include interpersonal difficulties with employers or colleagues, being made redundant, not liking the work or changing a career. The influence of the employer cannot be overstated. Employers with the highest completion rates are generally larger, experienced employers with well-organised systems for managing apprentices, while employers with lower completion rates tend to be smaller, and have less experience.
Occasional Paper 12 June 2014

2014 Environmental Scan of the Agrifood Industry, Lucky by Design
AgriFood Skills Australia


Government Skills Australia 2014 Environmental Scan
Government Skills Australia


ForestWorks 2014 Environmental Scan
ForestWorks Industry Skills Council


ForestWorks 2014 Industry Skills Scan
ForestWorks Industry Skills Council



Other News of Interest

Claire Field resigns from ACPET

The chief executive of ACPET, Claire Field, resigned on 2 July 2014. In a statement, ACPET said Ms Field was leaving to pursue “new challenges” after four years in the job. Company secretary Larry Davies is now acting CEO pending the appointment of a permanent successor. Read more at the link below.

Prime Minister inspects US industry technology college

Prime Minister Tony Abbott inspected an industry technology pathways college, with a visit to P-Tech School in Brooklyn. The New York industry technology college delivers higher level pathways education, backed by industry support.
“It is the kind of thing that we want to look at and consider. It is not entirely dissimilar from the Australian Technical College model which the Howard Government introduced in its last couple of years, but it seems there is a more hands on business role here than there was in the ATC model,” the Prime Minister said.
See a transcript of the Prime Minister’s doorstop interview at the link below.

Macfarlane gags debate on trade support loans

In a media post by the Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird, she notes that the Abbott Government has gagged Members of Parliament from raising the very real concerns of apprentices, their families, their employers and industry. This follows Labor’s second reading amendment to the Trade Support Loans Bill 2014 and the Trade Support Loans (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2014. Read Ms Bird’s comments at the link below.

TAFE’s share of publicly funded students continues to fall

Analysis of recent VET statistics shows that TAFE’s share of publicly funded students in Australia is now 55.6%. In Victoria, TAFE’s share of publicly funded students has fallen to 37.4%, while in South Australia it has fallen to 52.3%. Read more at the link below.

ACPET calls for an end to constant Victorian VET funding changes

The Victorian government has announced further changes to the funding of VET courses. The latest round of changes to fees and funding policy, for the first time, includes apprentices in the eligibility rules. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training ACPET has called on the Victorian government to rethink the latest cuts and fee changes, with ACPET chief Claire Field pointing to the disruptive impact on both RTOs and intending students of the constant changes to funding arrangements. Read more at the following link.

Redefining vocational learning in the global economy

Reform of the vocational education and training (VET) system needs to be far-reaching, with greater Commonwealth involvement and closer links to industry, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) says. Delivering the Swinburne University 2014 Chancellor’s Lecture, BCA Chief Executive, Jennifer Westacott, said while higher education is not short of people with opinions, “VET on the other hand, needs more powerful friends”. Read a transcript of the lecture at the following link.

Enrolments in diplomas crash in Victoria

Government subsidised diploma enrolments have crashed in Victoria’s open training market, according to the government’s latest quarterly report. Read more at the link below.

NMIT slashed jobs

Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), one of Victoria’s biggest TAFEs, will cut up to 170 teaching and administrative jobs, after reporting a loss of nearly $30 million and a fall in student enrolments by more than 5000 in 2013. Click on the link below for more.

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

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