Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

A time to reflect, and yet be very clear on what we are doing on your behalf

Monday, March 2 2015

As many of you may be aware, there was a media report last week that was critical of a member of ACPET. Be assured that the Board of ACPET takes such matters very seriously and has responded in a number or ways.

The provider has been asked to provide a response to the allegations that were made.

Although we are concerned about these allegations and are pleased that any such rorts are brought to our attention (so that action can be taken), it would be preferable to be able to eradicate this sort of behaviour from our industry.

It is further evidence of the outrageous behaviour of some brokers that we have been seeking action on. Members already have access to ACPET’s revised Code of Ethics and New Code of Practice, this is part of ACPET’s response to some of the behaviour we have observed with brokers. The new codes will be available to all once launched on the 13 March 2015.

It was pleasing that the provider, having signed a contract with the broker in November in 2014, terminated that contract in January 2015 as a result of their monitoring activities.

Work is now underway with all students potentially affected to ensure that they are all aware of their current situation and we will support them should they have legitimate concerns about their training or course enrolment. 

ACPET is closely examining all allegations that are being made by the media. While only one side of the ‘fence’ is being scrutinised in this way, we will take action regardless and have issued show causes to members where evidence is found.

I doubt this is the last you will hear of all this in the coming week.

What else are we doing?

  • The revised Codes are an essential element in maintaining our integrity
  • We have and will take action to protect that integrity.
  • We have called for VET FEE HELP reform and greater regulatory scrutiny
  • We have called for the creation of a National Ombudsmen, to cover the entire sector, and
  • We are working with government to improve the design of funding programs.

ACPET is also now creating our own Quality Committee to oversight the Code of Ethics and Practice. This committee will be a chaired by an independent, pre-eminent person, with considerable legal, leadership and regulatory experience. This appointment will be announced shortly.

In this difficult environment and with the introduction of the Standards for RTOs 2015, we have reviewed our Health Check Services to maximise the benefits to members.  Our aim is to ensure each Member is confident of compliance with the National Standards.

Realising each member has different areas of focus and risk factors, the new approach will offer tailored services designed to complement the individual RTOs internal compliance structure.

These services are designed to be a cost effective way to provide your team an independent view of current practices.  The process is not designed to be seen as a regulatory style audit but rather a supportive coaching style approach. 

The range of Health Check Services also include adherence to ACPET’s Code of Ethics and Code of Practice in addition to the new Standards.

Is this enough? Probably not.

ACPET is also engaging in the research agenda to try and put some evidence on the table.

We are supporting a major research project, which is also supported by TDA, NCVER and the Melbourne CSHE.

The project is branded “Profiling diversity of providers within the Australian VET Industry”

The LH Martin Institute from the University of Melbourne is leading this major research project on the nature and diversity of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Industry. The research is modelled on previous research led by the LH Martin Institute into the University sector within Australia.

ACPET, TDA and NCVER are a part of the formal reference group guiding the process.  The final report and findings of the research will be widely available and will build a better understanding of the sector.

While much data is available within NCVER, some information is not available publicly, and therefore large public and private providers across Australia will be contacted directly within the next two weeks to assist in the data collection.

The raw data provided will remain confidential, but will be used in an aggregated form to map organisation profiles consisting of the following dimensions.

  • Teaching and learning
  • Student profile
  • Applied research, industry collaboration, partnerships
  • International orientation, and
  • Context.

We encourage our member’s participation in this important research, and we look forward to sharing the results.

Further information on this research can be obtained by contacting: Assoc. Professor Ruth Schubert, Assoc. Director, LH Martin Institute on 03 90356042.

We are also working on another significant project looking at the VET sector – more information to follow in the coming weeks.

So, in all of this why are we all here?

Having met with many of you I know why you persist in the sector, and it is all about the Student.

So let’s here from one:

Charlotte Seago comes from a teaching background in the school system. She wanted to further her career and job prospects by studying a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

Charlotte says that she chose to study via distance education with Selmar Education because of their flexible study options, which fitted in perfectly with her family and work commitments. Charlotte reports that since commencing her studies the trainer has been very accommodating and supportive to meet with her at convenient times to work around her lifestyle.Contact is frequent via email, calls and face to face.

Charlotte reports that returning to study as a mature age student was daunting at times, however her trainer always offered constructive and positive feedback which built her confidence and empowered learning to embrace new skills and knowledge, which she is already putting into practice in the workplace.

A message from Charlotte: “Studying early childhood appealed to me because a child's early education is the first stepping stone to their lifelong learning journey. As a qualified early childhood educator I will be able to make a positive impact on young children by providing them with opportunities to maximise their potential and develop a foundation for success in their future learning.

I feel this course, Selmar and my trainer has prepared me for working in the Early Childhood Industry and it has challenged my thinking and the level at which I can achieve.

I encourage anyone considering studying at Selmar Education to take up the opportunity and embrace new challenges, skills and knowledge in a supportive and encouraging learning environment.”

So to everyone, stay positive – we know we are in an outstanding sector, though it has attracted some less desirables. Working together we will get back to what we do best.

If you have great stories like this one, please share them.

Rod Camm


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