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Skills Training Legislation Needs Safeguards to Avoid Over-reach

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia Media Release

Legislation introduced into the Australian Parliament to amend the skills training system’s regulatory framework could be strengthened by the addition of provisions to avoid regulatory overreach. That’s the position of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent providers in the skills training, higher education, and international education sectors.

“ITECA will always welcome measures that seek to put students at the heart of the skills training system and protect them. Although the Australian Government’s legislative amendments have this broad intent, there are also some concerning aspects to what’s proposed,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

The amendments to the National Vocational Education Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth) appear to create a power that would allow the government to effectively ban the establishment of new independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). It would also place a ban on some RTOs expanding the support provided to students by offering new nationally accredited courses.

“This is a degree of market intervention that we’ve not seen before, not only in the skills training system but elsewhere in the economy. It would be concerning if the legislation to be introduced into the Parliament today did not clearly articulate why and for how long the government may act to stop the creation of new RTOs, nor spell out in what circumstances it would stop existing RTOs from seeking to offer new accredited courses,” Mr. Williams said.

ITECA has written to the Australian Government recommending that safeguard measures be put in place. This may necessitate an amendment to the Bill as currently before the Australian Parliament.

“ITECA wants to see amendments that strengthen the legislation by putting in place safeguards. These include placing a limit on the amount of time that a ban on new RTOs would be in place. It’s also sensible that the government publish the underpinning reason for making such decisions,” Mr. Williams said.

As the peak body representing independent RTOs, ITECA has been a long-standing proponent of reforms that put in place stronger student protection mechanisms. This is important given that independent providers support more than 89% of the 4.6 million students in skills training, including more than half of all apprentices and trainees.

“Official data shows that on many key metrics of student and employer satisfaction, independent RTOs achieve the best outcomes. It’s in this context that we’re seeking amendments to put in place safeguards that allow RTOs with a commitment to quality to grow,” Mr. Williams said.

ITECA is convening a briefing for independent RTOs on 21 February 2024 to update senior executives from the skills training sector on the legislation.


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  1. Clakka

    Sure, advocate away. With a sordid history of ‘jobs for the boys’, rorting, misrepresentation and fraud, the RTO industry only has itself to blame for any cautionary provisions in the proposed legislation.

  2. New England Cocky

    Another COALition initiated BAD IDEA having huge adverse consequences for our Australian training reputation while making heaps of amoral profits for far too many scammers.
    There appears to have negligible compliance inspection of the ”independent RTOs” so claims by them of training results being better than TAFE training cannot be tested independently>
    There is little doubt that over the 12 years of LIARBRAL$ Notional$ COALition misgovernment the number of administrator desk jockeys multiplied like flies in a sheep paddock while well qualified and dedicated teachers were hung out to dry. Sadly, this has been the way for far too long, as pollies of both major parties attempt to break union solidarity.
    I must disclose that I have about six (6) TAFE qualifications in diverse fields of study and totally reject the TAFE policy change that eliminated craft courses from the TAFE curriculum.

  3. LambsFry Simplex.

    I wonder if they watched Prof. Fels today?

  4. Roswell

    So much that is wrong with so many systems in this country is thanks to John Howard sticking his nose in them.

  5. wam

    The poisoning of skill education was seen in the sixties when high school teachers were no longer retired, in the field trained, experts.
    The, commerce, home economics, woodwork and metalwork, departments(the mercs in the teacher’s car park belonged to the latter) were run on the premise, if it is not right do it again.
    Then the tertiary train teachers took over and not right became 6/10 and move to the next topic. QED The universities have oiled their way into skill’s training where they have no skills beyond slipping the TAFE cash away.. The tertiary institutes, like the one that gave the rabbott’s daughter a $60k scholarship, have no jobs. Both rip into the government cash available to student and the let the youth sink or swim. Their controls and outcomes should be evaluated before this legislation gives vice- chancellors and CEOs more power. ps spot on, Roswell, the lying rodent is an awful man and was the most abusive PM we have ever had.

  6. New England Cocky

    @ wam: Uhm ….. I think the 6/10 percentage thinking was established long before ”tertiary trained teachers” raised the knowledge level in schools, much to the chagrin of Two Year Trained teachers from Teachers Colleges (TC) who had crawled out of the classroom and into comfortable District Office and Head Office desk jockey jobs.
    Indeed, too many of these same flotsam floated to the top of the NSW DoE and strongly advocated that ”the best preparation for teaching was a two year TC Certificate” ….. mainly because that is what they had done, and they were unwilling to upgrade their own qualifications to the fresh requirements for graduate status to keep their cushy positions.
    However, attempting to return to the ”perfectly done” standard in a classroom was difficult because ”nobody does that!!”
    Indeed, I discovered that local high school kids did not know their Times Tables, the fundamental foundation knowledge for Mathematics, so I organised and conducted a ”Skills Upgrade Course” (SUC) to get ALL KIDS to be able to complete fifty (50) Times Table questions in one minute (60) seconds or better. Long story short … with the regular practice (that they had obviously never received in primary school) the class achieved their goal. The best time was 42 seconds (in a teacher – kid end of course play-off draw).
    Extending this SUC to higher classes, Year 8 to Year 12 (Gentlemen’s Maths)’, met with enormous resistance from the Principal who claimed against the evidence, that high school kids ”all learned their tables in primary school”.
    The VET system of ”independent RTOs” was set up under the Howard government and has been a great source of profit for unscrupulous operators who were originally paid by the Howard government upon enrolment rather than completion of the course.
    The profits WERE SO LARGE & CONTINUED FOR SO LONG that RTOs could offer lap-top computers (cost about $1200 then) as an inducement to enrol allowing the RTO to claim about $10,000 PER ENROLMENT IMMEDIATELY FROM THE HOWARD FERAL GOVERNMENT.
    Many providers were mail box offices.

  7. Phil Pryor

    The N E Cocky must know of hitherto unknown stories, for I knew of NO two year trained teacher (I started as one) who got up, on and advanced in the NSW Dept. of Ed. One could not.., there were separate payscales for two year, three year, and four year graduate teachers, with restrictions about promotion. Like many, I faced the hard inevitability, and did the B A, with sacrifices of time, holidays, money, travel (at U N E Armidale) and later completed an M A (Syd, Uni) along with three prof. certs, all to get ahead and make a little money. Prestige and opportunity followed, denied to two year trained teachers. Later, doing migrant english (with a tesol cert at some expense) I observed the punishment of adult migrant education, the evils of private providers (I worked in terrible overcrowded conditions) and the bashing of TAFE. Jack Howard, a repulsive old classmate once, had much to do with scarring education and much else too. Profiteering and sardining, underequipped staff, etc, were negative features. TAFE had class limits by levels, 15 with beginners, then more with competency, but the private screwers had me running a class of 35 once. One provider paid only face to face, nothing for prep and marking. Profiteers.

  8. New England Cocky

    @ PP: Yep!! There was one particularly unpleasant narcissist in NSW DoE who was tasked to oversee the departure of teachers from the DoE. On a good day he only growled and everybody from Regional Inspectors down shuddered. The fact he was incompetent was not considered.

  9. wam

    In SA, if you took ww, mw, hec or any craft in the 50s the work was right or do it again.
    When I taught high school in1960. The craft teachers were hands on trained, through the apprentice scheme, professionals, Usually retired but their flash cars were from cash in hand trading. Gradually they were replaced by college trained teachers with neither the years of on the job training nor professional experience..
    The purpose of the high school and its two (end of the 50s three) exams were to exclude most of the students. The blue collar manual workers were gone to work iat 14 or 15 in grade 9 or dureing grade10. The intermediate, in SA, got rid of the storemen-packers and low trades and the matric got rid of the bank johnnies whilst the rich went to uni and the poor went via scholarships.
    Wow Phil, I was a shit uni student and by 75 young kids were earning thousands more.
    So 5 of us oldies, mid 30s, from the same college enroled at UNE to study AboriginaL Ed to get 4 year trained status. The experience was terrific. Was billeted and got smashed first night dringing with a railway crown and woke up covered in sweat and thinking I’m dying when a voice said did you switch your blanket down. Ignorant and stupid then and still am.

  10. New England Cocky

    @ wam: Yep!! The UNE External School experience was one to grasp with both hands and attend at almost any cost. Consider Law lectures where one of the students was a organiser for the Victorian ETU. Frequently frustrated by the lecturer, the class benefited from his hands-on personal experience, and between classes demonstration of union organisation.
    That was in the noughties. Back in the 60s & 70s External students were so keen that the cleaners complained that too many were waiting to enter when the cleaners started at 5:30 AM, while the security people complained that too many were in the laboratories at midnight wanting to work on. Then the added bonus was the heavy social calendar that accompanied these studies.
    ”Work hard, play hard & do NOT waste time” were the rules for success.

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