TDA Newsletter 9 February 2015

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Birmingham says quality the top issue in the VET sector

The Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham has hinted at a further crack down on rogue training providers.

In his first major address in the portfolio, Senator Birmingham said initial consultation with stakeholders had, almost universally, identified the issue of quality as the number one concern.

“It is evident that more needs to be done to stamp out sharp practice among dodgy training providers.

“Prohibition of inducements (such as “free” i-Pads or cash rebates), tightening of marketing practices and enhanced duty of care provisions when signing a student up to a student loan are all ideas that the government will explore further,” the Minister said.

“I have been pleased to see the sector itself is also working to address concerns.

“Along with ACCI and its members, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training and TAFE Directors Australia has been strong in their support for improving the quality of VET training, and stamping out unacceptable business practices,” Senator Birmingham said.

Read more.

Private colleges capture taxpayer funds

Market-driven reforms to vocational education and training (VET) have led to a sharp reduction in government spending per hour of VET delivery and a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers to private training providers, according to a report by the Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney.

The report, prepared for the Australian Education Union, says that government funding of the for-profit VET sector in Victoria grew at an annual pace of 42 percent between 2008 and 2013, rising from $137 million to $799 million.

The report estimates that in Victoria in 2013, about $230 million in profits was generated across the for-profit VET sector, based on over $799 million worth of training subsidies.

“Just three companies are estimated to have extracted at least $18.3 million in profits from Victorian taxpayers in 2013. This rate of return well exceeds benchmark norms set by comparable industries, such as child care and transport,” the report says.

See the report, ‘The Capture of Public Wealth by the For-Profit VET Sector’.

Read ‘Dud training funds lining private pockets’ in The Australian.

Interim chair appointed to TasTAFE

Tasmania’s Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff has appointed businessman Nick Burrows as interim chair of TasTAFE, while proceeding with a new structure for the organisation.

“One of my top priorities is ensuring Tasmanians have a public training provider that is focussed on developing real skills for real jobs in a competitive training environment,” Mr Rockliff said.

“I applaud the organisation, particularly outgoing chair Kathryn Thomas and current CEO Stephen Conway, for their exceptional work in designing a new contemporary workforce structure.

“The structural changes will remove dual roles that combined manager and teacher, allowing teachers to teach and managers to manage.

“A small number of voluntary targeted redundancies, expected to be fewer than 10 FTE, will be quarantined to management,” the Minister said.

Nick Burrows is a TasTAFE director, a non-executive director of Clean Seas Tuna, Metro Tasmania, and a former director of Skills Tasmania.

Phil Cox departs after nine years leading Hunter TAFE

Phil Cox has announced that he is standing down as Hunter TAFE Institute Director.

In a note to staff and colleagues, Phil said he had used the Christmas break as an opportunity to reflect on what had been achieved during a period of significant change and over his nine years at the helm.

“I have accomplished all the major milestones that I had set for Hunter TAFE to be well positioned and thoroughly prepared for our entry into the new competitive VET market,” he said.

“Hunter TAFE is where I had planned it to be and I have an excellent executive team in place, therefore now is the right time for me to seek other challenges and do something different.”

TDA extends its appreciation to Phil for his contribution, counsel and support, and wishes him all the best for the next stage of his career.

TDA scholarships foundation hitting its goals

TDA National Scholarships Foundation has now awarded almost 300 Mick Young equity scholarships, working with 17 Institutes across Australia since it commenced operations in 2013.

TDA Acting Chief Executive, Malcolm White said the foundation is expecting to award at least another 100 Mick Young scholarships in 2015 and working towards the goal of awarding 1000 equity and merit scholarships in 2016.

The annual Mick Young Oration is being planned for Melbourne in May.

Gretchel Trost who helped establish many of the foundation’s operations will be re-joining, taking over the reins from Executive Director Theresa Collignon who is moving to a new role in the Community College sector.

Mr White said the foundation was grateful for Theresa’s commitment and energy and wished her well in her new endeavours.

He said that a major focus will continue on securing formal relationships with all interested TDA members and on assisting with their own fundraising events.

Extra training places for NSW students

NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced a new plan to create 240,000 extra places for young people to enter vocational education and training (VET) or gain an apprenticeship.

The ‘Reskilling NSW’ plan will provide:

  • $48 million for fee-free scholarships for 200,000 15-30 year olds to undertake government-subsidised VET, with priority on social housing residents;
  • $27 million for workplace learning for 40,000 government school students each year who enrol in a VET as part of the HSC; and
  • $8 million for VET in regional areas.

“As part of our plan, we will require contractors to employ a minimum number of apprentices on every NSW Government project worth more than $100 million,” the Premier said.

Read more.

South Australia signs agreement with Indian skills giant

The South Australian government has agreed to explore setting up a new training college in India that could see TAFE SA helping to train 80,000 students a year within a decade.

Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister Gail Gago was in New Delhi today to witness the signing between TAFE SA, India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Heraud Education and Training.

“It is hoped agreement will be reached to market TAFE SA’s educational materials, resources and provide advice, resources and student and teacher training on a scale never seen before,” Ms Gago said.

TAFE SA and Heraud will commence work immediately on a business case for the proposed college that could eventually grow to the equivalent size of TAFE SA’s operations in South Australia.

TAFE SA Chief Executive Mr Robin Murt said helping to establish the proposed college in India would be TAFE SA’s biggest off-shore undertaking yet.

Read more.

Bendigo Bank and Deakin University join regional student partnership

Deakin University has entered a partnership with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to expand opportunities for students in regional NSW and Victoria.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander and Bendigo’s Managing Director Mike Hirst signed an MoU that will initially see 40 students granted three-year study scholarships.

Other initiatives being explored include:

  • The creation of a university Community Bank, from which profits would be returned to Deakin community projects;
  • A scholarship fund of up to $1.3 million, in partnership with local communities; and
  • Joint research prospects, and digital engagement/innovation opportunities, including mobile payment, crowd funding and communication initiatives with Bendigo Bank Telco.

Read more.

Diary Dates

Victoria University
Financial Sustainability in VET

DATE: 25-26 February 2015
LOCATION: Victoria University City Convention Centre, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Engineering Excellence Project Information Sessions
Australian Industry Group

DATE: February & March 2015
LOCATION: Various locations around Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

VET Development Centre
Learning Lab

DATE: 5 March 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Workplace Practitioners’ Network
Foundation Skills at Work

DATE: 18-20 March 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

18th Annual Conference

DATE: 8-10 April 2015
LOCATION: The Rendezvous Grand, Melbourne
DETAILS: More information.

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
The future of work: Rethinking employment, training and skills in NSW and ACT

DATE: 7 May 2015
LOCATION: Amora Hotel, Sydney
DETAILS: More information.

National Congress & Expo

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

Western Sydney Careers Expo
DATE: 18-21 June 2015
LOCATION: Showground, Sydney Olympic Park
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

‘No Frills’ conference

DATE: 6-8 July 2015
LOCATION: University of Western Sydney
DETAILS: More information.

VET Development Centre
Teaching and Learning Conference

DATE: 3-4 September 2015
LOCATION: RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
DETAILS: More information.

National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 17-18 September 2015
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
DETAILS: More information.



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