Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Edition 581, 24 November 2014

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Well another exciting week in the amazing world of tertiary education

Monday, November 24 2014

It was a real pleasure to celebrate true excellence in our sector at the Australian Training Awards in Adelaide on Friday night. Congratulations to ACPET member winners: Seafood Training Tasmania – Small Training Provider of the Year and Train 2 Learn – Disability Training Initiative Award.

A sincere congratulations to all of our finalists also, Liam May – Advanced Training International Incorporated (NT), Charlton Brown – International Training Provider of the Year, Carmen Gumley Avidity Training (TAS) -  VET Trainer of the Year, - Activ Pathways Western Australia (WA) and Marr Mooditj Training Inc (WA) - Disability Training Initiative Award. Making the final list of such a prestigious event is truly remarkable.

Just talking to the finalists and winners and listening to their stories is inspiring. Quality education has changed their lives. Our sector is of the highest quality and we do need to celebrate our best. The Training Awards are a great example, but there are fantastic stories everywhere.

For example, Indigenous youth in the Northern Territory are benefitting from a number of innovative and targeted programs offered by our members. The BCA National Training Group is delivering the Diploma of Management, which offers a broad range of expertise, teaching the skills of a quality leader in a student’s chosen profession.

Recently, BCA delivered the Diploma to a number of Aboriginal participants from Djilpin Arts and Jawoyn Rangers in Katherine, about three hours out of Darwin.  As a component of their assessment for this qualification, participants worked together on a group project to motivate other community members, with a focus on developing positive role models for their local teenage communities. The assignment involved planning and conducting a community event in association with the local arts centre, community Rangers and local community schools to address the issue of substance abuse, sniffing and illegal drugs in the youth 13-15 years old age range bracket.
The program was delivered in partnerships with local stakeholders including  the Jawoyn Association, the Arnhem Land CLP, Barnatjarl Association, Djilpin Arts and Barunga School.

BCA have over 20 years experience delivering accredited training in remote, rural and indigenous communities and are in the process of expanding their NT course offerings through their new facility at the old Batchelor Institute campus in Parap, an inner city suburb of Darwin.

Of course the higher education reforms continue to be debated publicly with much speculation as to the ultimate product. I offer an invitation to all Senators who will soon participate in the design of our future higher education system to come along and visit our education colleges. Great examples of absolute excellence. Come and meet the students, hear their stories and have a look at the facilities. I would be happy to organise at any time to meet your needs. You will be inspired.

In the higher education space, the free trade agreement is a massive step forward for Australian providers. Success in gaining acceptance to be listed on the white list is the culmination of 10 years of work. While this has not been publicised, ACPET during these negotiations has:

  • Hosted delegates from China on a number of occasions to demonstrate the quality of the sector
  • created a presence in China office in a show of commitment
  • met regularly with the Ministers responsible for the various elements of the agreement
  • Facilitated trade missions, and
  • Worked with the Department of Industry, and its predecessor to align strategy.

Congratulations to everyone involved.

The ACPET Board met on Friday and discussed the key issues impacting on the sector. Our aspiration and demand for quality, the critical role in informing and supporting the higher education reforms, the need for quality engagement with members and improving our services were all a key feature.

The Board has approved the re-creation of three committees to ensure ACPET remains at the forefront of leadership in our diverse sector. As a key feature of our engagement framework, we will be rapidly establishing committees to oversight our direction in higher education, international education and vocational education and training. These committees will be chaired by current board members Dr George Brown (Higher Education), Mel Koumides (International) and Richard Finlayson (VET).

I would ask members to consider nominating for membership. If you are interested, please forward you nomination to your respective State or Territory executive officer.

In other news our NSW members are still very frustrated and angry about the process used in determining contract allocations in the Smart and Skilled Reforms. While possible to hide behind 'pre-approved' processes, members are strongly arguing that it does not make up for a badly designed central procurement model that has actually removed competition and innovation. While for good reason there is a lot of emotion in the debate, ACPET is hosting forums with the intention of obtaining real evidence of process flaws than can be used in demanding a review of the Program. This review is needed now.

On a more pleasing front, my sincere thanks to all of the members who have participated so far in my membership workshops across Tasmania, ACT and South Australia. A very impressive group who all gave an absolute commitment to further improving the quality of our sector and ensuring the membership bar so ACPET genuinely ensures an aspiration for education quality. There have been many more ideas put forward. I am excited by them and will develop a plan for the new services models after we have researched them appropriately.

More on this later.

As we run fast into Christmas, I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks.


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