Recent weeks have seen various horror stories of the workings of dodgy private providers of vocational education and training, including the latest: a recall of certificates due to concerns of sub-par standards in these institutions.
On 9 February the Andrews' government in Victoria announced details of its VET Funding Review.The Review will be led by Bruce Mackenzie, former CEO of Holmesglen Institution.The Review’s website is up and running – and very simple one page affair...
One of the Abbott government's top advisers on vocational education and training has stepped aside following allegations the company he runs employed salespeople who lured vulnerable students into courses with free laptops. ...
ALMOST 10,000 government-funded vocational students in Victoria have had their qualifications recalled in the past year because of concerns about poor training and standards breaches, stoking calls for a regulatory crackdown. The extent of recalls is equivalent to almost 5 per cent of the 200,000 qualifications issued in 2013. A further 3000 students may soon have their qualifications recalled pending the outcome of current investigations, according to government figures provided to The Australian. Of the recalled dodgy qualifications, 7000 were recalled last year and 2500 have been recalled in the past month, with all the recalls relating to private providers. Once a qualification is recalled a provider must repay the government subsidy and the student must hand in the certificate. Just two providers accounted for half the recalls, including crisis-hit, stock exchange listed provider Vocation, which late last year had 2409 qualifications recalled by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority. It had to repay $19 million to the government. Its shares are suspended while it seeks to sell assets to repay debt. The Australian understands the other is an unlisted private provider that has shut down operations while it returns about 2500 qualifications because of concerns over assessment and course content. Victorian Skills Minister Steve Herbert said the extent of poor quality was a significant concern and flagged a further regulatory crackdown. “It is time for a stronger approach,” he said, criticising the previous Coalition government for not clamping down harder on the sector last year. He said some of the recalls related to investigations going back as much as two years at some providers. Last year the government recovered $32.5m from non-compliant providers, equivalent to 2.8 per cent of the $1.2 billion a year market in government subsidies. “I’m very concerned that the taxpayer is paying for training that isn’t up to standard,” Mr Herbert told The Australian. He said the preliminary results of a departmental survey of 3000 employers indicated that only about half reported that training had led to an improvement in the skills of their apprentices and trainees. “The proliferation of low-quality training providers won’t be tolerated,” Mr Herbert said. Victoria’s open market for training, in which private and public providers compete for government subsidies attached to students, has long been dogged by reports of rorting and poor quality. This month the Senate passed a motion calling for a review of the open-market model for training that has spread to other states since the Brumby Labor government established it in Victoria. Federal Training Minister Simon Birmingham has flagged a regulatory crackdown amid concerns federal vocational student loans are being wasted on poor-quality training. Mr Herbert said key concerns included brokers pushing uninformed students into inappropriate courses, instances of course advertisers offering students jobs that didn’t exist and courses that should take six months to two years being delivered in just a few weeks.
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