Submission Smart & Skilled:making NSW number one ACTT – Association of Concerned TAFE TeachersLee Frost, Don Gilhooly, Alex Strachan, Dorothy Tsang, Paul Vourloumis
Introduction• The members of ACTT wish to submit the following submission and recommendations to the Board of Vocational Education and Training regarding the NSW Smart & Skilled policy. The issues to be addressed are:• Increase participation in VET• Target VET to business, industry and regional needs• Role and function of TAFE NSW as the public provider• Greater choice for individuals & employers
Increase participation in VET 1.1 How can we engage more of the working age population in vocational education and training?• By ensuring standards of private RTO’s are as high as TAFE to maintain quality of training that is not compromised by market forces.• By ensuring courses result in a high proportion of job outcomes. Contestable funding in Victorian VET led to a 1000% increase in enrolments in courses for Fitness Instructors since 2008.• By ensuring NSW TAFE is adequately funded to continue to provide high quality vocational education and training.
TAFE NSW has a high satisfaction factor in relation to private RTO’s A survey cited in the Smart & Skilled discussion paper states:• 89 per cent of TAFE NSW graduates were satisfied with the quality of the training they had received.• 87 per cent of training participants who receive government- funded training with private training providers in New South Wales were satisfied with the quality of training. (NSW DEC 2011)
1.3 How can we improve training and job outcomes for disadvantaged learners?• By maintaining reductions in course fees for financially disadvantaged learners.• By increasing subsidised foundation services such as Literacy and Numeracy and IT support within or prior to commencement of training.
1.5 How can we encourage more people to complete higher-level qualifications?• Lower-level qualifications need to be valued and not discouraged as they often underpin knowledge and skills, they scaffold learning for successful completions in higher-level qualifications.• Costs for higher-level qualifications need to be affordable. Proposed VET FEE-HELP needs to be flexible and non-restrictive to lifelong learning.
1.7 To what extent could a training entitlement increase training participation and meet the future skill needs of individuals, businesses, regions and our economy?• A training entitlement is transferable Federal Government subsidised funding for VET students for their first CIII.• Whilst successful completion of a CIII may increase participation and meet skills needs by young learners, changing industry demands may necessitate retraining. This precludes those who already have CIII or higher to access subsidised funding.
1.11 Should student loans be available for government- funded vocational qualifications? If so, what should they look like?• Student loans should not be used as an excuse to raise the course fees of VET to unreasonable levels.• Care must be taken to not exclude learners from skilling down or sideways. Lifelong learning is not always linear.
Target VET to business, industry and regional needs2.1 What is the best way to ensure that the governments funds for VET flow to areas that maximise economic benefits for our businesses and the state?• We suggest that lowering fees will increase enrolments. The effect of this allows more opportunity for jobs.• Skills needs need to be identified early.
Target VET to business, industry and regional needs2.2 How can we maximise VET opportunities to meet the needs of our regions?• TAFE NSW Riverina suggest graduates satisfaction with the training received promoted more funding for the institution which increases skill levels creating a beneficial cycle.• Flexible distance based learning such as TAFE OTEN should be enhanced and have funding support to better service regional areas e.g. Increased IT resources.
Target VET to business, industry and regional needs• 2.3 How can our VET system adapt and be responsive to meet the changing needs of business and industry and changes in the economy?• Facilitate increased consultation with industry.• Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA) explain how authentic information from industry is important. The significance of this information can provide a waypoint to finding where future funding can be spent.
Role and function of TAFE NSW as the public provider• 3.1 What should the role of TAFE NSW be in the context of a broader entitlement to training in our vocational education and training system?• TAFEs role as the primary VET provider in NSW should be supported by government in order to maintain standards in course development and delivery.• In 2010 TAFE delivered more than 70% of all flexible Vocational Education and Training in Australia. It has the infrastructure, reputation, history and the resources to further develop its role in VET provision. (NSW Adult Literacy and Numeracy Council, 2011).
Role and function of TAFE NSW as the public provider• 3.2 How should TAFE NSW be better utilized to meet the future skill needs of our workforce?• TAFE should develop stronger links to schools and universities by providing clearer pathways for vocational and professional training.• TAFE has an extensive syllabus that has been maintained, adapted and changed according to market and industry needs.• Training reforms need to support existing staff to develop resources and facilities that can adapt to the changing job market demands, and in line with the NSW 2021 plan.
Greater choice for individuals and employers 4.1 Type of information that is needed by individuals and employers to inform their choice of VET:• TAFE NSW works with employers in their workplace.• Provides most placement support to students training in the workplace.
Greater choice for individuals and employers• 4.2 To assure the quality of VET in the context of greater choice, we can• Increased emphasis on teachers’ accountability in their classroom delivery.• Maintain or update quality educational facilities or flexible learning options.• Close collaboration with local community, industry and other stakeholders.• Alternative career pathways available to students to encourage appropriate training choices.
Improve VET completion rates• 5.1How can we improve vocational education and training completion rates?• Offer more ‘Gap’ training for basic.• Greater levels of support for students learning.• Value the participation as well as the completion.
Improve VET completion rates• 5.3 How can we improve completions for apprentices and trainees?• Comprehensive careers advice in & out of school.• Integration of some courses into school curriculum.• Value NSW VET relatively high completion rate & do not compromise it by wholesale introduction of contestable funding.
NSW VET has one of the highestcompletion rates in Australia. 34%compared to 27% nationally (NSW DEC 2011)
NSW has a relative low share of contestable funding for VET at 19.6%compared with 21.7 % nationally (NSW DEC 2011)
Recommendations• To increase participation in VET the government must increase or at least maintain funding for TAFE for it to continue providing premium Vocational Education and Training. Value add what we have - TAFE.• Contestable funding needs to be in line with skills needs and additional to current funding model so facilitating reform. Flexibility is allowed for.• Keep course fees accessible for learners with careful introduction of an entitlement system and student loans for higher-level training or lowering fees to stepping up qualifications from previous completions.
Recommendations• Increase subsidised foundation services such as Literacy and Numeracy and IT support within or prior to commencement of training.• Proposed VET FEE-HELP needs to be flexible and non- restrictive to lifelong learning.• ACTT suggest that lowering fees will increase enrolments.• Facilitate increased consultation with industry, big & small
Recommendations• Maintain or update quality educational facilities and/or flexible learning options, give TAFE the ability to be flexible.• Comprehensive careers advice in & out of school.• Value NSW VET relatively high completion rate & do not compromise it by wholesale introduction of contestable funding.• Value the participation as well as the completion. Do we wish for a society built on a co-operative model or a competitive model?
References:• Australian Council for Private Education and Training 2011, Smart and Skilled Submission, viewed 3 April 2012 https://www.training.nsw.gov.au/forms_documents/.../org_acpet.pdf• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2012, Skills for all Australians: National reforms to skill more Australians and achieve a more competitive and dynamic economy, viewed 24 April 2012 http://www.deewr.gov.au/Skills/Pages/SkillsforallAustralians.aspx• NSW Adult Literacy and Numeracy Council 2011, Submission to: Smart and Skilled: making NSW number one, Accessed 24 April 2012. http://www.nswalnc.uts.edu.au/doc/SmartSkillALNCSub2011.pdf• NSW Department of Education and Communities 2011, Smart and skilled: making NSW number one, Discussion paper, viewed 2nd April 2012 https://www.training.nsw.gov.au/vet/skills_reform/index.html• Trounson, A. 2011, ‘Boom for private providors’, The Australian, Higher Education, 17 August 2011, viewed 28 April 2012 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/boom-for-private- providers/story-e6frgcjx-1226116237059