TDA Newsletter 3 November 2014

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TDA calls for inquiry into private college profit claims

TDA has called on Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne to order an urgent examination of marketing practices and information provided to students allocated VET FEE HELP loans for courses at some recently-listed and soon-to-be listed ASX training companies.

The CEO of TDA, Martin Riordan, said an inquiry was needed to get to the bottom of the extraordinary revenue and profitability claims that have been reported by several ASX listed companies now under investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

“Recent financial data, released by several ASX-listed and soon-to-be listed education and training companies, boasts extraordinary profitability and sky-rocketing turnover. Profit projections and information to shareholders, including that contained in prospectuses, appears to be based almost exclusively on federal VET FEE HELP student loans,” he said.

It has been reported that VET FEE HELP turnover has snowballed from $25 million in 2009 to $1.3 billion this year. The Department of Education is responsible for both higher education and vocational education student loans.

“The data seems so amazing that closer scrutiny is important to establish transparency about how student loans have been issued, and whether there were breaches by private colleges offering VET FEE HELP loans.”

See the TDA media release.

See today’s AFR article, TAFEs push for probe into private providers’ ‘extraordinary claims’.

See today’s AFR Comment, Pyne risks drowning in a sea of shonky operators.

Training package discussion papers released

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has released two discussion papers which will form the basis of the federal government’s new approach to the design and implementation of training packages.

“This is the first time in almost 20 years that there’s been an honest assessment of whether training packages are delivering what students need to get a job, and what industry needs to enhance its productivity through access to the right skills,” Mr Macfarlane said.

The first paper, Review of Training Packages and Accredited Courses, seeks comments on whether training packages are meeting the needs of industry, employers, students and the economy.

The second, Industry Engagement in Training Package Development – Towards a Contestable Model,examines contestable approaches for the development and maintenance of training packages.

Training packages are currently developed by the 12 Industry Skills Councils (ISCs) under a contract with the Commonwealth, however this arrangement will cease from next June.

Submissions to Industry Engagement in Training Package Development – Towards a Contestable Modelwill close on 24 December, while submissions to the Review of Training Packages and Accredited Courses will close on 18 February 2015.

See the Discussion Papers.

Red tape repeal produces $83 million savings

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has outlined savings and cuts to red tape in the vocational education and training area in the government’s latest Spring Repeal Day.

“This reduction in red tape in the Industry portfolio alone will deliver an $83.5 million benefit to Australian industry through lower costs for paperwork and complying with red tape, giving the business community more time to focus on building Australia’s productivity,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Savings include:

  • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) no longer being required to apply to the regulator to update registrations when changes to training packages are made, when the training outcome remains the same, saving $27.3 million;
  • Improved business support services delivered through the new Australian Apprentices Support Network, saving $10.5 million;
  • A new online record system for vocational education and training attainments and qualifications from 2015, saving $4.9 million;
  • High performing RTOs being invited to add new qualifications to their training scope without applying through the national training regulator, saving $3.3 million, and;
  • Removing the requirement that existing RTOs need a financial viability assessment when re-registering, saving $2.7 million.

See more.

$12 million investment for William Angliss Institute

William Angliss Institute students will have greater access to eLearning opportunities through a new next generation learning platform and IT system, as part of a $12 million injection announced by Victoria’s Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Nick Wakeling.

William Angliss Institute CEO Nicholas Hunt said the funding will make a major difference to outcomes for the students who will be able to access programs through a range of different technologies, and to the food, tourism, hospitality and events industries which rely on the expertise of our graduates.

The Minister made the announcement at William Angliss Institute’s Melbourne campus and participated in a live cooking demonstration and podcast to show the technology which will be developed further to allow students to participate in classes remotely.

William Angliss students Georgia Reaburn and Zac Seliniotakis join Minister Wakeling (centre) for a cookery and podcast demonstration with William Angliss professional cookery teacher Freddy Bosshard and program leader cookery Kimon Tsindos (far right).

TAFE Queensland wins international social development award

At the recent World Congress of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) held in Beijing, TAFE Queensland won the Gold Medal for social development activities.

Congratulations to TAFE Queensland, on this international award.

See the WFCP media release.

The WFCP closed its proceedings, and issued a Beijing Declaration.

The Beijing Declaration emphasises the importance of skills training for industry and the wider community, an emphasis on quality, and new focus on international partnerships.

TAFE NSW executive appointments

TAFE NSW Managing Director Pam Christie has announced the appointment of two new Executive Directors.

Philip Clarke has been appointed as Executive Director, TAFE Strategy and Finance, and Olga Popovic has been appointed as Executive Director, TAFE Transformation.

Philip held senior roles with responsibility for significant VET reforms in Queensland and Victoria, and most recently was General Manager of the National Skills Standards Council.

Olga began in the NSW public sector as an auditor, before joining the Department in 1998, more recently as Department Liaison Officer in the Office of the Minister for Education advising on VET/TAFE policy issues. Since returning to TAFE NSW, Olga has lead TAFE NSW’s business and governance reforms and been pivotal in driving the reform program for TAFE NSW.

Ms Christie also thanked Barry O’Loughlin for acting in the role of Executive Director TAFE Strategy and Finance over the past months.

Our congratulations to Phil Clarke and Olga Popovic on their appointments.

Future chefs use media for training message

​Students from the Western Australia’s Central Institute of Technology’s media course have utilised their communication skills to produce a video that promotes a career in hospitality to a new audience.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Kim Hames said the new career promotional video was a first for Western Australia.

It is a partnership between the Central Institute of Technology Advanced Diploma in Screen and Media students, and the FutureNow Hospitality Ambassador Program.

“This is the first time a video has been produced for the Hospitality Ambassador Program and it represents an important resource, allowing Ambassador Chefs to share their experiences and stories with students across the State,” Dr Hames said.

The FutureNow Hospitality Ambassador Program began in 2012 in response to skill shortages in the hospitality sector. There are now more than 3,000 students and 160 schools across WA participating.

See more.

Accountants can use TOEFL test for English-language proficiency

Australia’s three accounting bodies are now able to accept alternative English tests as a proof of language proficiency.

From November 1, international graduates and skilled migrants seeking a skills assessment from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Institute of Public Accountants and CPA Australia can use their TOEFL scores.

This change puts the accounting profession’s migration assessment in line with the forthcoming Department of Immigration regulatory changes. The decision to use tests creates a streamlined pathway for international accounting graduates and skilled migrants to use their TOEFL scores for student and skilled visas, as well as professional accreditation.

The change allows employers seeking to address skill shortages to access accounting talent from new and diverse pools across 180 countries.

See more about the TOEFL test.

Diary Dates

Group Training Australia
2014 National Conference

DATE: 12-14 November 2014
LOCATION: Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Government Skills Australia
2014 National Conference

DATE: 17-18 November 2014
LOCATION: Adelaide Oval
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2014 B/HERT Awards
Business Higher Education Round Table

DATE: 20 November 2014
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
DATE: 21 November 2014
LOCATION: Adelaide convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

National Congress & Expo

DATE: 2 & 3 June 2015
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.


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