27 October 2016

VET FEE-HELP overhaul designed to encourage strong employment options.

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A lot has been written recently about the government’s VET FEE-HELP scheme with Education Minister, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham saying that 2015 VET FEE-HELP data is littered with examples of rorting and shonky behaviour from some providers who continue to take advantage of students and taxpayers, tarnishing the reputation of the vocational education and training sector.

Recent changes to the VET FEE-HELP scheme has seen a large reduction in the number of VET courses covered by the scheme down from 825 to just 350 available courses.

The Australian Council for Private Education and Training has advised they believe there was inadequate consultation from the Government regarding the removal of 475 courses from the approved list. In a recent article on www.news.com.au the ACPET advised over half a million students would be denied the opportunity to develop their skills and find better employment, while also cautioning the reduction in approved courses could see large scale job losses in the industry.

Minister Birmingham said the structure of the VET FEE-HELP scheme meant there were too many students being signed up for courses simply to boost providers’ enrolment numbers or to provide ‘lifestyle’ choices that don’t lead to work.

“Australians rightly expect that any subsidies students get are focused on areas of study most likely to improve employment outcomes,” the Minister said.

“Vocational education is a key feature of post-school learning in Australian and it’s fundamental to our future success as we transition to a 21st century economy. This means we also need to ensure taxpayer support for students is targeted at skills that are in high demand and valued by employers.”

The recently released data highlights up to one in five students were doing VET FEE-HELP approved courses not to improve their job prospects, but to pursue lifestyle interests.

“All diploma level courses were eligible under VET FEE-HELP, which meant we had a list of more than 800 courses being subsidised by taxpayers despite many being lifestyle focused with little relevance to employment outcomes,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With our new VET Student Loans program we will ensure providers go through a rigorous application process and extensive monitoring and evaluation to ensure they are delivering education that students and employer’s value, and that taxpayers are will to continue supporting.”

“VET Student Loans will only support legitimate students to undertake worthwhile and value-for-money courses at a quality training provider.”


Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

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