ACPET

Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Lies Damn Lies and statistics

Monday, December 15 2014

It is time in the current public critique to reflect on a training system's fit for purpose.

While we all have our own views on this dimension, we must first look at the data. The latest fun facts from my good friends at NCVER include:

  • 87.9% of VET graduates are employed or are in further study,
  • 82.4% of graduates fully or partially achieved their reason for study,
  • 87.6% are satisfied with their training,
  • 89.9% are satisfied with teaching, and
  • 89.1% are satisfied with assessment.

If we ponder these results for a moment, it is difficult to conclude anything except the sector is performing. There are of course some statistics that show a different trend.  13.6% of graduates from government-funded private providers reported that they had moved into higher-skilled employment, compared to 25.2% five years ago. The TAFE result in this category also fell by around 10% over the same period.

Is this the result of poor training? Inappropriate student recruitment would impact on these figures. However, NCVER itself comments that "Employment outcomes have deteriorated since 2009, most noticeably in Victoria and South Australia, where they have been affected by the high dollar and where manufacturing has subsided".

Qualitative results also abound.

A unique partnership between the MEGT Institute, the State Government and industry helped 14 Tasmanians with intellectual disabilities achieve a nationally recognised qualification. In addition, 49% of graduates either achieved a job or progressed to further study. Private providers have exemplary results across Australia in delivering quality, innovative partnerships with industry that produce results.

In an example of serving the community, the Quality Training and Hospitality College's Diploma of Hospitality students recently raised $63,000 for charity by hosting and serving a black tie dinner!

My point of course is that this is a wonderfully diverse sector that needs support.

We are all concerned about unscrupulous recruitment and behaviour. Members across the country have strongly supported any measures to remove poor practices from our industry. It requires a concerted effort by regulators and the industry. ACPET itself is leading much of this debate.

However, government also has a very important role to play. It is government that designs the funding rules that govern how training subsidies flow to training providers. That means government has the opportunity to ensure poor quality providers don't easily get into or stay in the market. Outcomes indicators such as completion rates, employment outcomes, transition to further study or even measures relating to volume of learning can all play a role in assuring integrity in the market. Not including these features and then lamenting indifferent outcomes undermines confidence in the sector.

We as the private sector are already showing the way forward to demanding the quality and integrity of our membership. What is needed of course is that all stakeholders collaborate and take responsibility for quality in education.

On a different note this edition also includes a Christmas message from the NSW Minister for Education, The Honourable Adrian Piccoli MP. The Minister’s letter outlines his response to many of the criticisms of NSW’s Smart and Skilled Program.

Rod Camm

ACPET CEO


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