Advancing Australia’s VET Sector – #10 2016


Following the flurry of news last month on the new VET Student Loans Scheme, progress seems to have stalled with the Senate and debate is recommencing this week. While a Senate inquiry found the need for a vocational education and training Ombudsman to watch over the national sector, the VET Student Loans Bill 2016 which was lodged in October has still yet to be passed.

ACPET has called for a delay on a “bungled and rushed implementation of the VET Student Loans Scheme”, with the government revealing late last week details of the provisional application process for private providers which ACPET believes “is another significant change thrust upon the sector without due consideration of the consequences” which could see both providers and students miss out.

A coalition crackdown on private education providers announced by education minister Simon Birmingham late last week revealed strict new rules that will penalise colleges with less than 75% pass rates by restricting enrolments – however “colleges with higher pass rates and better results will be able to enrol more students who will be covered by government loans”.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is focusing on the benefits of International Education to the Australian economy, noting that international education exports recorded an 8% rise to $20bn in the last financial year.

This now confirms international education as Australia’s third-biggest export earner, and to ensure a continued high standard of service and care is delivered across the sector the government has released a new international education Agent Code of Ethics (ACE).

There’s increased discussion worldwide on the important role vocational education is going to play in providing career pathways for both young adults stepping out into their first jobs and for mature age students retraining and upskilling their abilities to adapt to working in the 21st century jobs environment.

In the new PWC Report ‘Unlocking the $17 billion prize’ it is revealed how empowering young workers in employment and vocational education and training by just 3% could potentially boost Australia’s GDP by 1.1%.

A further report released this month by NBN™ and the Regional Institute of Australia about careers and the future of work in an internet-connected society, ‘The Future of Work – Setting up Kids for Success’ has revealed that by 2030 jobs in high demand will encompass three distinctive categories – high tech jobs, high touch jobs, and high care jobs. High Touch Jobs are defined defined as what were previously known as the blue collar professionals – tradespeople and creators of products. It’s fascinating to see that there’s an identified need for trades skills to be given an equal platform as technology skills to meet the demands of skills shortages in the coming decades.

This dilemma is currently already being felt in the US, where vocational education has moved swiftly towards high tech skills at the expense of trades. We have provided a link to a great blog from The Barefoot Spirit which wonders in this fabulous high tech world of white collar professionals who on earth is going to be able to fix your car or your bathroom….

There are lots of fantastic industry development courses coming up through ACPET this month, as well as the ACPET VET forum. So we expect to see continued robust discussion from you all below on the evolution of the vocational education and training industry in Australia – onwards and upwards!

More industry news and articles in our curated e:news #10 2016 available here >>

Judith Bowler

Educational Strategist & Founder, RTO Advance