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TDA Newsletter 15 May 2017

Federal budget unveils a new model of skills funding The federal budget saw a new model of funding for vocational training, with the announcement of a skills fund that will support state and territory-led projects that meet defined Commonwealth criteria. The $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund effectively replaces the National Partnership Agreement on Skills and aims to create 300,000 new apprenticeships over four years. States and territories will be required to put forward projects, provide matching funding, and achieve agreed milestones. The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews told a post-budget breakfast that the fund "marks an unprecedented … [Read more...]

Resourcing Australia’s tertiary education sector

LH Martin Institute Australian Government expenditure on tertiary education has been consistently at 0.8% of GDP since 2000. There has not been a ‘blowout’ in tertiary education spending. If there is a problem, it is simply that the Government needs to bring the Budget back into balance. The contribution that can be made to that objective from the tertiary education sector is at best modest, writes Mark Warburton. While direct expenditure on higher education student places under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) has increased considerably since 2008, this has been substantially offset since 2011 by 13 major savings measures which have reduced spending in other programs of support for … [Read more...]

TAFE does the heavy lifting

Report shows  mismatch between federal VET student loan funding and skill priorities TDA NEWS    |    12 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… A TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)-commissioned analysis of official data reveals ‘for profit’ private training colleges have gained a massive 75% share of the $3 billion Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP funding, while the public TAFE sector continues to do the “heavy lifting”. …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   The research was undertaken for TDA by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). TDA sought the NCVER analysis to assess courses, funding, educational outcomes, market share, completions and … [Read more...]

Exponential growth of VET-FEE HELP as sector opened to private colleges

The looting of VET FEE-HELP 7 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… A report presented on ABC Radio National provides an insight into the thinking of the providers who have virtually looted VET FEE-HELP: it was all within the rules, apparently, so that made it all right.  As this extract shows, the greater part of the loot flowed to a handful of providers, all of which were relatively recently established, with no track record of provision, let alone quality provision.  In the space of a couple of years, for example, Ivan Brown,  turned a $500 start-up investment into a stake in a listed company worth $180 million (Australian Careers Network), all built on the back of … [Read more...]

Turnbull loads the starter’s gun

"The time for playing games is over." ABC News     |    21 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Malcolm Turnbull is bringing back both houses of parliament for an extraordinary sitting of parliament in April to deal with union corruption legislation, saying he will dissolve both houses of parliament if the bills are not passed, with an election on 2 July. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Turnbull told a snap media conference he will bring forward the federal budget by one week to 3 May , to allow more time for the union bills to be considered. The time has come for the Senate to recognise its responsibilities and help advance our economic plans, rather than … [Read more...]

The Scan # 177 17 March 2016

News ______________________________________________________ Fed takeover of VET unlikely 14 March 2016   |   The newly-minted Commonwealth minister for skills, Scott Ryan,  has poured cold water on a proposed Commonwealth takeover of vocational education and training set out in a draft of a paper to go to the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).  Under the proposal, TAFE fees would be deregulated and TAFEs would receive the same funding.  While education Simon Birmingham has strongly advocated a Commonwealth takeover,  Ryan says there are strong arguments to maintain the current system. Ryan said redesigning the troubled VET FEE-HELP scheme - which has blown … [Read more...]

Collaboration and the case for certainty

University Australia's election agenda 17 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… In this extract from his  speech to the recent Universities Australia Conference (which was mainly about research, innovation and collaboration),  Universities Australia's chair Barney Glover sets out in broad terms the university sector’s policy agenda for this election year. He prefaced his comments with the observation that the sector has been subject almost 2 years of policy insecurity and uncertainty which has taken a toll on the ability of universities to plan and allocate resources (it’s actually more like 4 years, taking into account the churn that was going on in the latter days of the … [Read more...]

It just beggars belief

9 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Fairfax Media reports on the $1 million cost to taxpayers of completed Human Resource Management Diplomas at the so-called Australian Institute of Professional Education (AIPE) - $111 million paid out in VET FEE-HELP in 2014 for just 117 completions.  Meanwhile, The Oz reports that the Australian Competition an Consumer Commission is taking a third provider - Empower Institute - to court over allegations of "misleading or deceptive and unconscionable conduct" when marketing its courses to remote communities across the country (it will follow Unique International and Phoenix College to the Federal Court dock) - it enrolled 14,000 in … [Read more...]

ACPET dismayed, as well

8 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… ACPET's Rod Camm expresses dismay over the raft of changes in relation to VET FEE-HELP legislated last week  -and fair enough, too, because the blameless will be collateral damage in cracking down on the utterly blameworthy rorters.  But Camm also poses the question that has occurred to most VET sector participants and observers: how could this have been allowed to happen?  He answers the question thus:  Without....checks and balances this could only mean Government has been approving this phenomenal growth, in a relatively small number of public and private providers, … [Read more...]

Once was TAFE

8 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… There’s been a growing chorus of outrage over the looting of VET FEE-HELP by a handful of VET providers, coupled with disbelief that the government and regulatory agencies could have had such lax safeguards as to allow this to happen. It was all perfectly predictable. On 29 April 2012, The Scan published Once was TAFE, a commentary on the then Victorian government’s introduction of so-called “competitive neutrality” in the public funding of VET. It’s a piece that has stood the test of time. It does beggar belief that having been witness to the chaos that was occurring in the Victorian system courtesy of open access to funding and … [Read more...]