Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

And now it begins.....

Monday, August 15 2016

After a marathon election (you may have missed it) and post-election counting period, we welcome the contribution of both sides of politics at our ACPET National Conference next week.

This now becomes a critical phase as it presents us, as an industry, to engage in the political debate about the future of both higher education and VET.

From our perspective it is not about public or private.

It is about Student Choice and demanding only quality providers have access.

On this front at the Conference we will be making an announcement about how ACPET intends to separate our members from the rest – a message to governments that we can, and will provide real advice on which providers are truly student centric.

I am very pleased to announce that the re-appointed Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham will open the conference. Minister Birmingham has carriage for both Higher Education and VET FEE HELP so let’s not miss the opportunity.

We have also invited Shadow Minister for TAFE and Early Education Kate Ellis to represent the Opposition. Hopefully she will be able to join us for her first ACPET National Conference.

We look forward to welcoming them both and hearing their thoughts on the future of our industry which provides important context for our range of other discussions.

Registrations for next week’s conference are still open. See the full program and list of speakers on the conference website.

Come along and be part of it all.

On a different front we saw the announcements this week that the Victorian Government is trying to recover $41 million from 18 private colleges whose public funding has been cut off in the past year following the state government's self-proclaimed blitz on poor practice.

This has been followed by the now expected call from TAFE Unions to protect TAFE from competition.

This of course ignores much of the evidence and in our sector facts and hard evidence needs to underpin the debate.

Without any doubt unscrupulous providers have no place in our education and training system. While much of the poor behavior grew from a poorly designed and regulated system, this does not excuse unethical behavior. While I welcome strong action by Government to ensure such practices can never be repeated, I also must ask for a robust and procedurally fair audit process.

ACPET and some of our members have been consulted by the department on the design of the future system. However, many of these changes are still too opaque and we do look forward to a transparent agenda.

The actions of a few providers should not jeopardise the majority. The vast majority of private providers had consistently delivered high quality education and training outcomes for students for many years.

So what is the evidence?

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research report into total VET activity shows private providers provided double the training than TAFE in 2014.

This trend continued in 2015, where the sector grew to 4.54 million enrolments, up from 3.91 million in 2014. Private providers accounted for 66 per cent of students in 2015.

Graduates of private providers reported their satisfaction levels above 85 per cent and 78 per cent of private training graduates were employed after achieving their VET qualifications.

The TAFE-commissioned report, Trends in public and private VET provision: participation, financing and outcomes found that unemployed people had the best chance of getting a job following training with a private provider.

The sobering facts are that when given a choice, students and industry are increasingly choosing a private provider to address their skills needs.

You can see why there have been calls to stop this trend by taking away the choice of students.

That would be a very poor outcome for students, employers and the economy.

On a much more positive front we at ACPET are always eager to promote opportunities for our sector to develop and grow.

One of ACPET’s members is offering the opportunity to study the sustainability skills set – a great chance for TAE Diploma students.

Learning Options has a limited number of Endeavour Mobility Grants available to vocational students in small business, training and assessment, or management and leadership courses. These tours are exciting opportunities designed to inspire individuals, have a lasting impact on people’s thinking, and give them a wonderful experience at the same time as receiving course credit for selected units of competence from a nationally recognised qualification.

Ubud, Bali is a hotspot for innovation, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and change makers and where better to learn about sustainability principles in education than a world renowned school in the jungles of Bali. Green Camp provides experiences that cultivate people’s understanding and appreciation of nature, community, and self through an unforgettable learning adventure.

Learning Options has partnered with the Green Camp and the Green School to provide an 8-day sustainability study tour to Bali, Indonesia, funded by an Endeavour Mobility Grant.  The government grant contributes to travel and accommodation and in country costs and participants only pay the normal discounted qualification price as if they were undertaking study in Australia.

Study tour dates are as follows:
Training & Assessment Tour – 1 November to 9 November 2016

Credit can be achieved towards one of the following qualifications:
Diploma of Vocational Education & Training TAE50111
Sustainability Practice Skillset plus additional 2 units

Take a look at the tour details at or contact for further information on enrolling with Learning Options.

Rod Camm


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