Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Other Ways

Monday, June 26 2017

Several weeks ago, I met with a group of ACPET members from ‘in and around’ Melbourne on a cold Winter’s night to discuss some of the sector’s key policy and other ‘big ticket’ issues. It was a great turn-out and a great night!

Of course, with a couple of high profile providers having ceased trading in the days just before this meeting much of the discussion was about why these failures happened and what can be done to ensure they aren’t repeated.

But what struck me was the sense of anguish and disbelief from these members at the actions of a relatively few providers and the damage that has been caused to a sector that has a long and proud record of responding to the needs of its students and industry partners. By and large these were members who have given decades of service to the sector. Members who quietly, but with great pride, are doing their very best to help young people and other learners to get the skills they need to make a better career and life for themselves and their families.

As I’ve said many times they, and we, have much to be proud of. Private providers nationally deliver around 3 million of the 4.5 million VET enrolments annually. Student and industry satisfaction is well above 80% year in-year out. We have a vibrant private higher education sector that is achieving student satisfaction levels on-par with the public universities and this despite their students not being able access government-subsidised tuition fees.

At the moment, however, not a lot of this seems to resonate with some of our key stakeholders in government and the community.
While there has been strong member support for the great bulk of reform we have seen at the national level in recent times, I am not convinced that more regulation is the only way. The risk is that great providers, like those I met with in Melbourne, will simply decide it’s all too hard.

That’s why it’s so important that we get members’ advice and input to the big (and not so big) policy issues. What is their advice on ‘the other ways’?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the federal government’s announcement of a review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. I highlighted a couple of my priorities for the review.

I have been invited to join an Expert Advisory Panel that will support the review. While its ‘early days’ I would like to understand the aspirations and priorities members have for the review. What do ACPET members want the review to achieve? How can regulatory changes support their aspirations for the VET sector?

So, a ‘shout-out’ to members. Contact your state or territory Executive Officers with your priorities and aspirations for this important review.

The ACPET Conference and Asia Pacific International Education Forum is now only 8 weeks away, this year the conference is themed around the milestone of ACPET turning 25, in recognition of ACPET’s birthday we are honouring all that the sector has achieved over this period. The program boasts a great range of speakers and it is promising to be an excellent.   

If you haven’t yet seen the program or registered, I encourage you do so here. I look forward to seeing you there.

Rod Camm


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