Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

A message from our National Chair

Monday, November 23 2015

It is with great pleasure that I am writing to keep you informed of the discussions and progress of your Board.

Last week was a very inspiring week for vocational education and training. The annual Australian Training Awards are always fantastic and the event in Hobart was no different this year.  The wonderful stories are a timely reminder of why we work in this industry. Of course to show my bias it was particularly pleasing to see so many private and community providers being acknowledged for their great work.

Congratulations to all winners and especially ACPET members -

VERTO - Large Training Provider

What can I say about Ron Maxwell and his fantastic team. For the first time in over 20 years, a private provider has won the coveted large training provider of the year. As a community owned, not-for-profit organisation, VERTO delivers a range of employment and training services to assist individuals, employers and industries in communities across New South Wales.

Since the 1980s VERTO has grown to 27 locations, training an average of 3000 people each year. Clients value the job appropriateness of courses. Specialised training links the most disadvantaged people in the community with sustainable employment opportunities.

To Ron and VERTO, well done the industry is truly proud of you.

CHARLTON BROWN® International Training Provider of the Year

The ubiquitous Kay and Trevor Ganley and CB team have been recognised for their long standing commitment to international education. Charlton Brown provide high quality programs across early childhood education, aged care, home and community care, disability, youth work, welfare and youth justice, CHARLTON BROWN® is a leader in community services education.

Almost 2000 students, approximately 125 of whom have international backgrounds are enrolled annually, with a further 132 students through transnational educational partnerships in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.

CHARLTON BROWN® provides local and international internships, study tours, local home stays, a working holiday program, language support and placement opportunities for students in local community services facilities.

Well done team, you do deserve this recognition for all of your great work.

MEGT –Industry Collaboration Award partner

ACPET member and group training organisation MEGT partnered with youth charity, Whitelion and Clennett’s Mitre 10 to offer a Retail Trainee Program to young Tasmanians who have encountered barriers to employment. Graduates obtained a Certificate II in Retail. It was great to see our Board member Nicole on stage with Clennett’s Mitre 10, who has a long and proud history as an employer in Tasmania, with the Clennett family opening its first timber business in the 1940s and its first hardware store over 36 years ago. It now has three retail outlets and employs over 180 staff.

Overall a fantastic event and well done to Tasmania.

On other matters, the Board also met last week and I thought it timely to inform you of some of our ‘policy’ considerations.

The Board considered the many issues impacting on our sector including higher education reform, the Reform of the Federation process and strategies for our industry to lead the regulation and quality assurance of brokers.

In terms of the Federation, the debate is particularly real in the VET sector where the States and Territories have constitutional responsibility, with the Commonwealth providing some policy leadership and funding through a number of national agreements and direct program funding.  As a comparison, while there are some residual responsibilities for States and Territories, the higher education sector is effectively driven from a policy and funding perspective by the Commonwealth. 

The key benefits of any transfer of responsibility to the Commonwealth would revolve around greater consistency, less duplication and the enhanced financial capacity of the Commonwealth to fund the VET sector.  Less fragmentation of this important sector is particularly attractive.
The arguments for the States and Territories retaining control focus on their greater capacity ‘on the ground' to identify and respond (in a timely way) to local and regional needs.

The Board is considering our position and would welcome the contribution and views of members. I look forward to hearing from you.
The issues in relation to brokers continue to plague our industry. ACPET has taken a strong stance on member engagement and use of brokers and agents through its Code of Practice introduced earlier in 2015. 

However, significant concerns remain with the delivery of training funded through VET FEE‐HELP, in particular, around the use of brokers and agents by providers. Some of the more concerning practices involve the targeting of disadvantaged clients who are ill‐equipped to undertake their program of study. 

ACPET's Code of Practice has been rolled out to members following its launch in March 2015. Some 40 brokers and agents have applied for Partner in Education membership with the first induction training for their staff being held in mid‐October 2015. This process remains important, however the Board is now considering further changes for 2016, where even greater scrutiny and transparency can be applied to help give confidence to members utilising quality brokers.

We will keep you informed of progress.

Our sector remains diverse and continues to produce some fantastic results.

The greatest accolade must go to the individual winners and finalists of the 2015 national VET Training awards, the students themselves.

After all, isn’t that what we are all about?

I wish you all well for the festive season and to a bright 2016.

Mel Koumides
National Chair


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