National reviews to focus on short courses, further scrutiny of VET FEE-HELP
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will undertake two further national strategic reviews in 2016-17, its Chief Commissioner has announced today.
The first will be a review into the duration of training across the Australian vocational education and training sector, following considerable concerns being raised about very short courses.
The second will be a continuing focus on some providers approved to offer courses under the Australian Government’s VET FEE-HELP (VFH) program.
Speaking at the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) annual conference, Chief Commissioner Chief Robinson said short courses had been identified as a major issue in previous Strategic Reviews undertaken by the authority.
“Very short courses prevent learners from gaining all the skills and competencies they should be getting from vocational education and training (VET) courses,” Mr Robinson said.
“The previous strategic reviews undertaken by ASQA have identified the issue of very short courses to be a persistent and pervasive concern across many industry sectors.”
Further analysis and research will be undertaken and a report prepared for release by the end of 2016.
Mr Robinson said ASQA’s 2016 VFH regulatory strategy was a response to the findings of the program of targeted audits undertaken in 2015. Since the completion of the 2015 audits, ASQA has worked closely with the Department of Education to share information and identify providers of concern.
“This strategy will support a targeted response to VFH approved providers exhibiting behaviours of concern in relation to their obligations under the VET Quality Framework contained in the National VET Regulator Act 2011 and the Standards for RTOs 2015,” he said.
“This review will not result in a detailed report, but ASQA will release a statement later in 2016 about the outcomes of its regulatory scrutiny of problematic VFH providers. The results of the review will also be able to inform the redevelopment of the VFH scheme that is currently underway.”
Since it was established in July 2011 ASQA has undertaken seven strategic reviews of the VET sector including training for early childhood education and care, aged and community care, the White Card for the construction industry; training in equine and security programs; the marketing and advertising practices of RTOs; and targeted audits of VFH providers.