Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

This week I again would like to reflect on the importance of policy

Monday, July 31 2017

I do this as a reminder that we as an industry need to find the time to come together and consider the road ahead. There are too many issues to ‘unpack’ in detail, but lets do a quick list.

I have identified over the last few weeks the enormous amount of change washing through our sector.

If we start with the scaffolding – we currently have genuine reviews of training products and the National VET Regulator (NVETR) Act underway. Both of these pieces of work will have an enormous impact on what the VET sector looks like in the years to come. That means we, as an industry need to develop a position and participate in the process. Both the regulator and the qualifications we deliver will change so getting it right will help ensure we have a sector that retains its world-class reputation for delivering the skills that respond to the needs of students and industry.

Of course we also need to consider funding.

While still not in operation, the Skilling Australians Fund is a major change to the way the VET system and States and Territories are to be funded. The notion of ‘project based’ funding and an absolute focus on apprenticeships is a big change indeed from the previous National Partnership Agreement.

For me, it’s not about the rhetoric around the change but how to ensure that funding is channelled to where it is needed. Delays will impact on skills development but so too will any misalignment with the skills people need for jobs. It is therefore vital that there are no delays in getting ‘deals’ in place to ensure skills programs are boosted and not interrupted.

The Vet Students Loan Scheme of course is still having a significant impact and the operability of this important scheme is still yet to be truly tested. That is, enrolments are still too low to get a real sense of the scheme. What we do know is that expenditure has been wound back considerably.

Another real sleeper that may yet bite the sector is the proposal in the Government’s higher education reforms to allow Universities to offer sub-Bachelor places. This will have an impact and may result in students selecting higher education Diplomas when a VET program is more beneficial. Again a potentially major change to the framework of Tertiary Education. 

But wait there is more.

As mentioned last week there are changes proposed to the ELICOS Standards that underpin delivery to international students. Like the review of the NVETR Act, there isn’t a lot of time for input with consultations closing on 11 August 2017.

Of course the higher education sector has not been left alone. There are very significant changes proposed through the Government’s higher education budget and integrity reforms now before the Parliament and in the admissions transparency reforms. We have a much publicised position on these changes and will continue to push for equity for students who select a private provider.

So why have a listed all that is happening?

I do so to unashamedly push for you all to register for ACPET’s conference which is now only a few weeks away. The conference is the perfect time for us all to get together, consider the changes and discuss the key issues that need to be included in the reform.

We actually can’t do it without you!

The conference agenda will be full of opportunities, as will the more ‘informal’ discussion we will all have to get the issues on the table.
I for one have great anticipation for the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham’s presentation. His change agenda is unbelievably extensive.

There are also presentations from State Ministers and sessions focussing on Industry’s role in international education, high level panels to debate the various elements of change, competition and what works and sessions on the importance of VET and risk and reputation.

There are many other opportunities to discuss our change agenda. The conference has been designed for that purpose.

We will consider the fundamental issues around brand and the impact of the last few years. Specifically, the importance of brand and just how does the private sector earn respect from students and compete with trusted brands.

We need your input so please review the program and register here.

Rod Camm
Chief Executive Officer


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