Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

As the year flashes by....

Monday, April 4 2016

Yes, these short weeks are great – aren’t they?

Not sure we work any less hours, we just compress them into less days and convince ourselves the days off are worth it.

Ok they are.

This week sees the first Ministerial consultation (in WA) on the design of the 2017 VET FEE HELP Program. This is an important process indeed and I do congratulate Minister Ryan for leading the process. It will help shape the agenda ahead.

The consultations will be important in informing the Government’s re-design of the program for 2017. This is therefore a real opportunity for the sector to highlight proposals for change that will enable quality providers to better meet the needs of students and industry. I encourage your participation.

In terms of the issues to contemplate, well that takes some time. Suffice to say some the key ‘principles’ include:

The VET system is not broken

  • With some 3.9 million enrolments and high satisfaction rates the VET sector is responding to the needs of students and industry
  • VET FEE-HELP (VFH) has improved access to VET, particularly for those who might otherwise be unable to access training, in an environment where State and Territory funding is declining in real terms,
  • the priority of any reforms must be to maximise the contribution VFH can make to meeting the skill needs and career aspirations of students and the workforce

The design of the Program needs to centre on:

  • selecting only the best providers
  • establishing better and more transparent benchmarks for pricing and provider performance
  • a focus on academic achievement and outcomes
  • contestability between quality providers as a bedrock of the program.
  • flexibility, innovation and genuine ‘disruption’ to a reliance on history
  • poor student outcomes, regardless of delivery modes is not acceptable There must be a far more transparent mechanism to provide students with information about providers, their pricing and qualification and other outcomes
  • a national Training Ombudsman should be established to provide a mechanism for students to have their concerns addressed and to provide advice to Governments on necessary policy and program reforms.

Of course there will be much discussion on how the Program will be transitioned from the 2016 changes to 2017. That will also require some detailed consideration to ensure changes are not simply rolled over.

International education is a priority for ACPET in the coming weeks.

Industry and government head to India this week for a program which includes a meeting of the Australia India Education Council (AIEC) Skills Working Group.

ACPET’s International Engagement Manager Paula Johnston will represent members on the delegation, designed to raise the profile of Australia’s education, training and research systems. A key emphasis will be on the ongoing potential for collaboration between Australia and India. Adam Gilchrist will be a feature during the program.

ACPET members, Australian Retail College, AAMC and Reach for Training are leading the way in India and the visit will be great opportunity to discuss what is and what is not working. Please find more information about the trip here.

While talking International, I have the honour of representing members at the Australia China Business Week.

It is a huge event and particularly important for the education contingent.

Learning the latest on the Chinese Government's National Plan for Medium and Long-Term Education Reform and Development for 2010–20 will be a focus, as will the update on the Chinese JSJ list for Higher Education providers.

My last news for the week is both a celebration, and it is also a bit sad.

There is only one person who has worked for ACPET, has also been Chair, CEO and Company Secretary.

Yes, the laconic Larry Davies has decided to retire in late April. Larry has been an enormous contributor and has been a point of consistency through numerous ‘evolutions’ of our organisation and the industry.

I wish Larry the absolute best and I have no doubt he will continue to help us in one form or another.

I will certainly miss his humour, advice and contribution.

I perhaps won’t miss his cricket stories.

Rod Camm


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