Additional Action Needed On Quality In VET Sector

Sharon Bird welcomed Minister Macfarlane’s announcement that an additional $68 million will be provided to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) over the next four years to strengthen its capacity in regulating the VET sector as well as the Minister’s continued comments about the need to address the most risky parts of the sector. 

“While these first steps are welcome, I was disappointed that the Minister has indicated that he will not be formally responding to ASQA’s earlier reports, in particular the Marketing and advertising practices of Australia’s registered training organisations,” Sharon Bird said.

“The report and subsequent media stories have identified far too much unscrupulous behaviour in the sector and I am particularly concerned at the reported targeting of  vulnerable students by some private training colleges who are utilising the access to VET FEE-HELP.  Vulnerable students are being signed up for huge debts with very little understanding of the implications – all on the promise of free iPads or shopping vouchers. 

“There have also been media reports regarding employers who are becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of training being provided by some RTOs.  The reliability and reputation of the sector must be protected as a high priority by the Minister.

Recruitment and enrolment practices should be addressed in the new National Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).  The Minister must ensure that any attempt to cut red tape and to make processes more streamlined does not come at the expense of quality and genuine training and I look forward to seeing the finalised National Standards when they are released.