Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

The Mission – Support leaders who deliver quality and innovation

Monday, November 26 2018

Firstly, on day one let me offer thanks for the privilege of supporting the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) to build the capacity of not only our members, but the entire independent sector.

A key stakeholder last week asked me why I had accepted the role, and the answer was easy – I believe in what ACPET stands for and what it seeks to achieve.  The mission set by the ACPET Board is to position the independent sector as leaders of quality and innovation in Australian tertiary education.  The opportunity to work with stakeholders from across the sector and government to achieve this is one that I find personally of great interest.  Together, we’ll build the collaborative working relationships that will enhance the recognition and value of a high quality and diverse, independent tertiary education sector.

The next twelve months will be a critical time in which we will work to promote the sector and strengthen its integrity.  The forthcoming general election, whatever the outcome, will see renewed emphasis on the role of the independent education and training sector. The value to government of the entire independent sector – schools, vocational providers and higher education providers – will be challenged. ACPET’s role is clear, to ensure that the national policy debate acknowledges that the work of our members is fundamental to competition in tertiary education, which in turn drives improvements in quality, access and student satisfaction.

Thanks to some great research commissioned by ACPET and to be published early in the new year, the task of ACPET and its members has been made easier.  For example, we now hold the objective data that shows domestically it costs government $1,400 per student trained by independent VET providers, and $4,400 per student trained by the public VET sector (TAFE).  This difference demonstrates the efficiency of value the independent sector returns from public investment.

Similarly, the independent tertiary sector is clearly more agile at responding to the needs of students and business.  The research commissioned by ACPET shows that private universities and Non-University Higher Education Providers (NUHEPs) delivered training to 132,703 students in 2016.  While the majority of higher education students attend public universities, there has been a 10% growth year-on-year since 2014 in the independent higher education sector.  This suggests that students, and their employers, are increasingly seeking quality alternative and highly specialised higher education outcomes through the independent sector.

The importance of the independent sector is clear – from the perspective of government it offers a quality solution that’s more cost-effective and nimble to meet the changing needs of students and our growing economy.  In an election year, that’s ACPET’s message to all stakeholders.

Although today is my first in the office, it won’t come as a surprise that over the past month I’ve benefited greatly from the advice and guidance offered by the ACPET Board, members and staff.  Individually and collectively their commitment to the independent sector is strong, surpassed only for their enthusiasm to ensure that ACPET supports our members.  It’s hard not to be inspired when working alongside so many dedicated individuals.

Over the months and years ahead, I look forward to collaborating with the membership to achieve the vision set by the Board, where ACPET is recognised internationally as leading the quality provision of skills and knowledge for the future by ethical, independent providers of Australian tertiary education.

Troy Williams FIML MAICD
ACPET Chief Executive


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