In April 2012, all states and territories signed up to the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD) Agreement has meant that all states and territories are developing policies that fundamentally change how Vocational Education and Training (VET) is delivered in Australia.
The underlying fundamental principle that underpins these changes is that the VET sector must open up to market forces.
Already leading market shift away from public sector TAFE, and towards a rapidly expanding private for-profit sector. The intention is to transfer the cost of VET funding from a government responsibility to the individual.
Interstate evidence has shown the private for- profit VET sector is of dubious quality, operating in a policy setting which advantages low quality, low cost training ...more on that later
a national ‘entitlement’ to training only for first qualification up to Certificate III, available at public or private providers; access to income contingent student loans (ICLs) at the diploma and advanced diploma level; undermine of community service obligations making all government funding contestable
Between 2007 and 2011, nationally, TAFE system publicly funded enrolments dropped from 75.0% to 59.6% During the same period the enrolment of publicly funded enrolments in private providers grew from 14.5% to 33% In NSW, for the same period, the figures for TAFE show a decline from 76% to 66.1% with the growth in publicly funded enrolments in private providers growing from 10.4% to 24.0%
Evidence presented to a recent Senate Budget Estimates Hearing by the chief of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) showed that the regulatory body was inadequately resourced to monitor the quality of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) About 5000 RTOs nationwide...and growing daily
The Monash University Centre for the Economics of Education and Training (CEET) Report, TAFE Funding and the Education Targets, (November 2011): Government recurrent expenditure per hour of training declined by 15.4% between 2004 and 2009 – part of a longer term trend that saw funding per student contact hour in VET decline by about 25.7% from 1997. VET is the only sector, nationally, to have a fall in funding during this period (1999-2011).
More than 1.06 million students were enrolled in TAFE in 2012 People attend TAFE throughout their whole working lives: 550 000 were aged 15 ‐ 24 440 000 aged between 25 ‐ 44 260 000 were over 45 TAFE provides accessible education and training for all Australians: 65 000 Indigenous students 80 000 students with a disability 190 000 students from a non ‐ English speaking background
390 000 apprentices & trainees undertaking off ‐ the ‐ job training while enrolled at TAFE TAFE is providing an important pathway to skills and employment for young Australians One in three of 15 ‐ 19 year olds are at TAFE One in five 20 ‐ 24 year olds are at TAFE Estimated* - $1 invested in NSW TAFE, it returns $6.40 to NSW economy * Allen Consulting Group
In 2011, SA TAFE market share was 74%, private providers 26% In 2012, SA TAFE market share was 62%, private provider share 38%
Huge growth in private RTOs accessing government funding Huge increase in student fees and charges Huge shift in the VET “market”: In 2008 – TAFE had 75% market share, private RTOs 14% In 2012 – TAFE had 44% market share, private RTOs 46% 18
TAFE Queensland will be stripped of all assets, which will be transferred to a specialist commercial management entity. The assets will then be “rationalised” and made available for use by private and public RTOs The Queensland reforms go further than SA and Victoria – TAFE was left in control of its assets in those states. TAFEs will be handicapped and positioned at a commercial disadvantage. Private providers own their own assets, are not obliged to share facilities with competitors, even where they have purchased their facilities from government funds.
In 2012, the NSW Government announced a $1.7 billion cut to education in NSW, which for TAFE included an estimated $80 million cut This follows the $54 million reduction to the state training budget in June 2012 Loss of 800 jobs in TAFE over four years, largely due to the imposition of the 1.2% Labour Expense Cap Course delivery will be rationalised within Institutes and some courses will be cut altogether May 2013 NSW Budget showed an additional cut of $10 million
NSW Government’s response to the National Agreement has been the development of the Smart and Skilled policy to be fully introduced in July 2014 Key features of Smart and Skilled will be an ‘entitlement’ to training up to Certificate III, with a proposal to expand this ‘entitlement’ to higher level qualifications Introduction of income contingent loans for Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas Availability of ‘entitlement’ or subsidised training is restricted to the first qualification in NSW.
“…enable public providers to operate effectively in an environment of greater competition, recognising their important function in servicing the training needs of industry, regions and local communities, and their role that spans high level training and workforce development for industries and improved skill and job outcomes for disadvantaged learners and communities.” [Clause 25 (d) 2012 NASWD]
NSW cuts to TAFE are clearly in breach of the Agreement as they threaten the viability of TAFE.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), will set the ‘price’ that TAFE and all other providers will have to offer for VET courses.