VICTORIA’S services industries say employers are losing confidence in the quality of graduates of the state’s open training market, as providers struggle to maintain quality in the face of falling government subsidy rates, course closures and dwindling enrolments.
VICTORIA’S services industries say employers are losing confidence in the quality of graduates of the state’s open training market, as providers struggle to maintain quality in the face of falling government subsidy rates, course closures and...
Reputable VET providers and institutions will be given greater freedoms to offer new courses and alter existing programs under the latest reforms to the sector unveiled last week by the industry minister, Ian Macfarlane.
The minister said existing arrangements under the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) involved too much red tape and administrative paperwork, which stopped providers from keeping up with industry training requirements.
“At the moment, training providers are required to seek approval constantly from ASQA before they offer new courses or make changes to the courses they are already delivering,” Macfarlane said. “The result is an excessive amount of red tape and too much time spent filling out forms instead of filling classrooms or workshops. ASQA should be a regulator, not a bookkeeper.
“The best way to ensure providers deliver high-quality training is to let each RTO stand on its reputation – not fill out reams and reams of paperwork and jump through endless hoops.”
The increased autonomy for high-performing providers would be complemented with a crackdown on what Macfarlane described as “unscrupulous or misleading behaviour by ‘brokers’ who act as an intermediary between students and training providers”.
The latest changes were welcomed by both Group Training Australia (GTA) and TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) and follow the government’s recently announced plans to increase support to apprentices – as part of efforts to raise low training completion rates – and provide greater funding and incentives for employers to take on and train young workers.
TDA chief executive Martin Riordan said the loosened regulatory requirements for reputable providers were a welcome departure from the “one size fits all” approach under existing arrangements and would enable ASQA to “weed out … high-risk providers that are having a negative impact on quality across the VET system”.
However, despite broadly welcoming the moves, Riordan urged the government to grant greater autonomy to TAFE institutes, which he said were high-performance, low-risk providers.
“TAFEs should receive delegation to manage their own scope of course registration and have the ability to accredit courses,” he said.
GTA chief executive Jim Barron, meanwhile, said the raft of measures the government announced last week recognised the need to focus on quality outcomes and improved apprentice completion rates and also had the potential to “significantly lift the quality of training and better align it to jobs that will be needed by industry”.
VICTORIA’S TAFE sector continues to go from bad to worse with the market share of the public institutes shrinking to less than 27 per cent in the first half of 2014 and private providers taking the lion’s share of the state’s deregulated market for...
A FORMER senior TAFE executive has lambasted the Victorian government’s skills and training strategy saying quality training is compromised, non-traditional students ignored, government money wasted and TAFE’s community service obligations crippled by short-term, pseudo-market ideology.
Mr MERLINO (Monbulk) -- My question is to the Premier.
Mr Nardella interjected.
The SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Melton!
Mr MERLINO -- Can the Premier confirm that after four years of coalition government the number of students studying at Swinburne Lilydale TAFE and university has fallen from more than 2500 to 0?
Honourable members interjecting.
The SPEAKER -- Order! The house will come to order! Government members as well as opposition members!
Dr NAPTHINE (Premier) -- I thank the honourable member for his question, which relates to vocational education and training.
Mr Merlino interjected.
The SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Monbulk will not interject in that manner.
Dr NAPTHINE -- With respect to vocational education and training, when we came to government the expenditure by the previous government on vocational education and training in Victoria was $800 million.
Mr Merlino -- On a point of order, Speaker, on relevance, I think the Premier did not hear my question, and I ask: would he like me to repeat it?
The SPEAKER -- Order! No.
Mr Merlino -- It is about Swinburne Lilydale.
The SPEAKER -- Order!
I warn the member for Monbulk that if he continues to raise points of order in that manner, he will not be staying in the chamber.
Dr NAPTHINE -- When we came to government the expenditure on vocational education and training was $800 million. Under this coalition government we have increased funding for vocational education and training by 50 per cent. There is 50 per cent more money being spent on vocational education and training. Under Labor the number of young people in full-time education in November 2010 was 54.7 per cent; under the coalition that has gone up to 58.2 per cent. We have more young people, more people from Aboriginal backgrounds and more young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds doing vocational education and training. Indeed across Victoria -- --
Honourable members interjecting.
The SPEAKER -- Order! Premier, I am sorry to interrupt you. The members for Pascoe Vale and Kororoit are both warned. They will cease interjecting in that manner.
Dr NAPTHINE -- Indeed across the whole of Victoria significantly more students are doing vocational education and training. In 2010, under the previous government, 426 900 students were enrolled; in 2013 there were 645 000 students -- a 51 per cent increase in the number of students doing vocational education and training. I can also advise the house that when you analyse the courses -- --
Mr Andrews -- On a point of order, Speaker, on relevance, the question related to the number of students at Swinburne Lilydale, and I think we are all entitled to an answer. How many are there now? There were 2500 students; how many study there now?
The SPEAKER -- Order! The Leader of the Opposition knows that raising a point of order is not an opportunity to repeat a question.
Dr NAPTHINE -- As I was saying before, when we came to government 426 900 students were doing vocational education and training. Three and a half years later there are 645 000 -- a 51 per cent increase. I also advise the house that when we came to government less than 50 per cent of those students undertaking vocational education and training were doing courses that equipped them for the job-ready market. I advise the house that that figure has been lifted to 72 per cent, so there are more students studying more courses and more courses that are relevant to the job-ready market. I can also advise that there has been a 17 per cent increase in enrolments in regional areas.
Mr Merlino -- On a point of order, Speaker, on relevance, and with respect to your earlier ruling, the Premier has been speaking for more than 3 minutes.
There was no preamble to this question; it only related to Swinburne Lilydale. My community, your community, deserves an answer.
The SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Monbulk cannot involve the Speaker in debate. As I have said before, I cannot direct the Premier how to answer a question.
Dr NAPTHINE -- As I was saying, there has been a 17 per cent increase in enrolments in regional areas. The number of Indigenous students is up by 43 per cent. The number of culturally and linguistically diverse students is up by 109 per cent. The number of students with a disability is up by 58 per cent. Indeed Victoria has the highest participation rate in vocational education and training in Australia. Under this government we have had a 50 per cent increase in funding compared to the previous government, we have had a 51 per cent increase in enrolments, we have the highest participation rate in Australia and we have more students doing more courses that are relevant to the future jobs of those students.