Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Edition 582, 1 December 2014

In Focus
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Welcome to December!

Monday, December 1 2014

It takes moments of tragedy to remind us what is precious.

My absolute thoughts and condolences are extended to the family and friends of Phillip Hughes, who passed away on Thursday afternoon. A tremendous talent, and the reputation of just a very likeable young man, who has been taken away far too early. Australian Captain Michael Clarke’s show of respect to Phillip is a true testament to the deep respect held for him.

From this it is quite difficult to focus on anything but our own family and friends.

Christmas is almost upon us so I certainly will ensure my priorities are on the right things over the Christmas period.

Congratulations to Daniel Andrews and the Labor team in winning the Victorian election. A comprehensive victory and ACPET will work hard with the new government in the development and implementation of their election commitments and policies.

This week saw the confirmation of a senate enquiry into private providers of the vocational education and training industry. In view of some of the public debate the outcome is not surprising. Quite possibly, in the end the inquiry is perhaps what is needed for the sector. That is, if the process enables genuine discussion it may provide much needed opportunity to refocus recent debate on what matters, the best outcomes for students. This means high quality education that is driven by a national training sector (both public and private) that provides exemplary outcomes for all participants, be it funded by government, industry or students. The debate must be about how to ensure quality and student support, not why they choose a particular provider.

Yes in contestable markets students are overwhelming choosing private providers. We must ensure that the enquiry hears from the industry and students as to why. It is about quality, innovation and flexibility.

It is in this area that it is time we come together as an industry. As your representative ACPET will advocate strenuously on the industry's behalf. However, if there is one thing missing in much of the media scrutiny to date it is your voice. That is, individual providers showcasing excellence. While we have and will continue to promote our sector, Ministers, local members, Senators and the media need to hear from you. As an industry let us showcase what we all do best. ACPET will provide mechanisms to enable the constant communication of your great stories. However, providers, small and large alike play critical roles in communities and you will of course have great relationships with key decision makers. It is time they heard from you!

On that note, the same applies to the recent tender in NSW. The furore from NSW providers regarding Smart and Skilled continues. We are all trying to find ways to penetrate the argument. Of course what is needed are real examples of the process flaws. Please engage with Peter McDonald in this regard.

Building on the very good work of the provider forum in the Hunter Valley, ACPET is organising another forum in an attempt to sway decision makers and focus on the evidence. More on that soon.

A sincere thanks to the members who attended our workshop in Cairns. Some very frank discussion and great ideas on how ACPET can support its members.

Rod Camm


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