Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

In Focus

Monday, October 27 2014

I am very pleased that today I have commenced in my role with ACPET.

It is a tremendous honour to lead an organisation that represents the interest of private tertiary education providers, at a time of enormous change across the education spectrum.

I would like to pass on my gratitude to the acting CEO Larry Davies. Larry has been able to provide real stability at a time most needed.

You would all no doubt appreciate that the higher education reforms currently before the senate, early signs of a recovery in international education, different VET contestability systems being implemented across the country and a high level of media scrutiny of private providers are just a few of the issues we must deal with.

This pace of change places considerable responsibility on ACPET. It is a critical priority that we work with providers, industry and government in ensuring not only a voice, but in influencing the change agenda.

Australia's ageing population, changing economy and declining productivity growth rates means education reforms must play an essential part in improving workforce participation and productivity. Both the higher education and VET reforms target this space, however this element is lost in the debate about student fees,  student debt and of course poor quality.

I intend to work with members closely to fully understand the issues. What is apparent is that ACPET must play a strong role in providing assurance to governments, regulators and students that selecting an ACPET member does mean a better standard. They will get quality result. For ACPET to provide this type of assurance will mean building on the good work of the past in establishing the ACPET Health Check Program. In addition, we need to consider a cogent quality approach to the RTO standards, marketing and the role and behavior of agents, both internationally and domestically.

I today have called a summit of key education peak bodies and industry, to develop a high level understanding and a targeted response to the inappropriate provider and agent behavior being reported in the media. The industry must expect and demand quality!

I will also soon be establishing a series of workshops in every state and territory to work through the key issues and to ensure I understand what you as providers need from your representatives. In addition to the quality issues I have already mentioned, the questions look alarmingly simple:

  • What do you need from ACPET to help grow your business?
  • What do you need to help reduce costs?
  • How can ACPET inform you best about changing legislation and standards?

Of course it goes without saying that our ability to influence is directly proportionate to the percentage of the market we represent. I will be working with our staff to ensure that we both provide services that are attractive to current and new members, and to engage with non-members to increase our representation. I ask all members to consider how we can approach and attract your peers.

It is also essential that we work off a strong platform. Work is already underway to ensure our budget is in order.

On your reading of this update, I am pleased to advise that I have already commenced engaging with key personnel in the sector. I have met with the Austrade Education Commissioners to discuss how we can work with them in creating opportunities for members in attracting both on and off shore students and opportunities. ACPET will be following up this at the ICEF in Berlin later this week. ACPET has a long standing commitment at this forum and it demonstrates our high level commitment to the industry.

I again reiterate my excitement at commencing in the role and look forward to the exciting times ahead.




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