VET Sector calls for an end to politicians putting ideology before good policy at the Federal VET Policy Forum.

VET Sector calls for an end to politicians putting ideology before good policy at the Federal VET Policy Forum.


Federal VET Policy Forum

Assistant Minister Karen Andrews MP at the at the Federal VET Policy Forum.

Key stakeholders from the vocational education and training (VET) sector, including decisions makers and thought leaders from TAFE Organisations, Private Registered Training Organisations and Community Education Providers met in Melbourne on 16/07/2018 at the Federal VET Policy Forum to discuss the future of the Australian VET Sector, which has been plagued by scandal and poor government policy.

Shadow Minister Senator Doug Cameron at the Federal VET Policy Forum

The forum was held at the VET Development Centre, and was organised and hosted by Audit Express, an assurance and advisory firm that specialises in education policy.

Kevin Ekendahl, CEO of Audit Express said that his team had organised the forum to promote cohesion and harmony within the vocational education and training sector, and to encourage all providers to work together to build a stronger sector.  “For too long our sector has been used as a political football, we organised this forum to promote good policy in VET as we’ve seen the detrimental effects bad policy has on our sector, students and the economy” said Mr Ekendahl.

The forum was attended by more than 100 guests, representing some of Australia’s largest and highly regarded TAFE’s, RTO’s and Community Education Providers. The forum kicked off with presentations from Mary Faraone, Chair of TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), Rod Camm, CEO of the Australian Council of Private Education & Training (ACPET) and Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia (CCA), who each presented the challenges, concerns and needs of their parts of the VET sector.


Mary Faraone, Chair of Tafe Directors Australia, called for the removal of the 20% tax of students who take on a VET Student Loan. Ms Faraone said that VET is currently a “hard sell”, as evidenced by the decline in government-funded training, and the impact of issues such as demand driven university admissions and the VET student loan scandal. Ms Faraone also shared her concerns about the prospect of a looming skills mismatch – “people without jobs and jobs without people”, and that this is worsened by funding being uneven across states and territories, and student choices distorted by differing taxation and support arrangements between university and VET.

Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges described the VET Sector as being the “Middle Child” of the greater education sector, and gave a plea for our government to demonstrate National Leadership, “calling for our national politicians to provide real vision and leadership in Australia’s VET space, developing bi-partisan approaches to national challenges”. Mr Perlgut noted that “it’s time for proper funding: don’t tell me that we don’t have the money, because we surely do, when we are considering tax cuts across the board”.

Rod Camm, CEO of the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) said that “we need a vision, we need a national policy framework and we need to take ideology out of VET”. He also said that “the current construct of our system has to have a fundamental rethink”.

The forum attendees also heard from Assistant Minister Karen Andrews, who delivered her vision for VET, which was focussed on building on the past, securing our future. The Assistant Minister spoke about her support of innovation in the VET Sector, in particular of her support for micro-credentials, skill sets and innovative training programs that lead to employment for students. Assistant Minster Andrews also outlined the review of the AQF that is currently taking place. You can read more about the Assistant Minister’s announcements here.

Finally, the forum heard from the Shadow Minister Senator Doug Cameron, who spoke of his commitment to ensuring that a full inquiry of the VET Sector will take place should Labor win the upcoming Federal election. Senator Cameron also spoke of his unwavering support for TAFE’s, re-iterating that 2/3 of funding of VET will go directly to TAFE under a Labor led government. You can read Senator Cameron’s speech here.

Both Minister Andrews and Shadow Minister Cameron agreed on a number of key points, including the reality that training packages are currently outdated, in many cases not responsive to the needs of industry or current job roles, and that structure of both training packages the overall Australian qualifications framework is in desperate need of a rethink. Senator Cameron said that qualifications were narrow and not fit for purpose. He then raised the question “are Training Packages operating for public good?”.

One thing was clear from all presenters and the agreeable audience, that is the current Training Packages and the framework in which they operate are not working and are in desperate need of a re-think and new direction.

Sector representatives from TDA, ACPET and CCA all described a perceived “lack of a VET Policy vision at a federal level, on all sides of government”. There was also an overwhelming support from both the guests attending the forum and also from the panel of industry representatives for both sides of government to put good policy before ideology moving forward.

Attendees at the forum took to twitter throughout and after the forum with mixed views of support and frustration.

Call to action

1. In the lead up to this Federal Election the team from Audit Express encourage you to participate in the policy discussion, especially when it comes to Vocational Education and Training. You can do this by following the three key industry representatives and member organisations, which can be followed here:

2. Keep in close contact with your relevant member organisation or industry representative organisation. If you see or hear something happening in the VET Sector that you disagree with or are unhappy with, or if you are passionate about a particular topic or issue, always remember that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Never underestimate the power of writing to the minister, or your local senator or member of parliament. For more information on contacting your local senator or MP, click here.

3. Be active and vocal on social media about the issues that you care about!


2018 Federal VET Policy Forum

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UPDATE – This event is fully booked. All ticket allocations were exhausted in less than 10 hours. We are however hoping to live-stream this event, so please watch this space.

The Australian VET Sector has experienced significant change and transformation over recent years.
If you have solutions and want to make a difference, we want your input!

This event will put the issues and needs of the VET Sector in the spotlight, and back onto the federal policy agenda.

The Federal VET Forum & Panel Discussion will set the scene and put the issue of VET front and centre in the lead up to the Federal Election. This event brings together thought-leaders and key stakeholders from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector, and will provide a platform for discussion, debate and also for concerns about landscape and policy of the VET sector to be voiced.

  • Hear from the Federal Assistant Minister Karen Andrews, as she delivers her position and vision for the Australian VET Sector beyond 2018.
  • Hear from the Shadow Minister, Senator Doug Cameron about his plans to review the National Vocational Education and Training sector if his party wins the next the Federal election.
  • Learn about the various issues and challenges faced by the three key types of training providers in the sector (Private/TAFE/Community) with the VET Sector Stakeholder Panel discussion, which includes:
    • Rod Camm, CEO of ACPET
    • Craig Robertson, CEO of Tafe Directors Australia
    • Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia

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The Hon Karen Andrews MP to be the new Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

The Hon Karen Andrews MP to be the new Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull has formed government and announced his new ministry, which includes a number of new “Assistant Minister” roles (formerly known as Parliamentary Secretaries). [emaillocker id=6291]

The Hon Karen Andrews MP has been named as the new Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.

The team at Audit Express congratulate Karen Andrews MP on her promotion as Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills. We look forward to working with the new Assistant Minister and her team on improving the quality of Vocational Education and Training in Australia.

With Prime Minister Tony Abbott [/emaillocker]

Audit Express supports the Student Choice Counts campaign

Audit Express supports the Student Choice Counts campaign

Audit Express works with training organisations of all shapes and sizes across Australia. We find that private providers are responsive to the needs of industry, and offer both students and employers an important choice of courses, flexible delivery options and access to industry professionals.

More than 57 per cent of higher education and training students choose to study with private training providers in Australia. Our private training provider clients deliver courses to more than 75,000 students each year, meeting demand from their local employers. [emaillocker id=6291]

Photo of Lola Berry and Matthew Dale

Photo of Lola Berry and Matthew Dale

We see the success of private training providers each and every day.
Earlier this week our Director Matthew Dale attended the opening of Lola Berry’s new cafe Happy Place at the markets in South Melbourne. Lola is a well regarded Author, Nutritionist and Media Personality. Lola is arguably Australia’s leading health and wellness figure.

Lola studied at the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine, a quality Melbourne based training provider. She knows the value and benefits of Australia’s private training providers. Lola is a passionate supporter of private training providers and is now a face for the Student Choice Counts Campaign, you can read more about Lola and the campaign here:

The private higher education and training sector is under threat from short-sighted policy proposed by the Australian Labor Party that would see the majority of funding directed to government-run TAFEs and an arbitrary cap on student training loans. Audit Express fully supports the need to minimise student debt and ensure prices are justifiable, however an arbitrary one-size-fits all cap will fail students looking for quality education.

As a proud member of ACPET we support any measures that ensure that only the best higher education and training providers are able to deliver publicly-funded courses and student choice must remain central to any policy redesign.

Audit Express is backing the ACPET’s Student Choice Counts campaign ( to ensure that the rights of students, and employers, to choose their preferred higher education and training provider is maintained.


PS: You really should visit Lola Berry’s cafe Happy Place next time you are here in South Melbourne, there are so many healthy and tasty treats! [/emaillocker]

Happy Place


We want your feedback on the Redesigning VET FEE-HELP Discussion Paper.

We want your feedback on the Redesigning VET FEE-HELP Discussion Paper.

The team at Audit Express commend the hard work Minister Scott Ryan has put into his VET FEE-HELP Review, and the re-designing VET FEE-HELP discussion paper. [emaillocker id=6291]

At Audit Express we value the feedback and input of our clients and stakeholders, which is why we have set up a survey for you to provide your response and feedback to the discussion questions included in the Ministers re-designing VET FEE-HELP discussion paper.  There are a total of 35 questions, we estimate this should take around an hour to complete in full. If you are short on time, or if there are only a few points you wish to put forward, you do not need to provide a response to all questions. All feedback and comments are important to us. We will be sure to take your feedback into account when preparing our response to the Ministers discussion paper, which we will also share with you.

You can complete our survey either on the form below, or by clicking on the following link

If you would like a copy of your completed survey to use in preparing your own response for the Minister, please get in touch with one of our team members who will be happy to email you a pdf copy of your completed survey.

Thank you for your time and if you wish to discuss the 2017 VET FEE-HELP re-design please get in touch with one of our consultants by calling 1300 73 55 41.



Extension of training package transition period to 18 months for RTOs

Extension of training package transition period to 18 months for RTOs



Extension of training package transition period for RTOs  

changes-aheadAs many of you will know too well, there has been a surge in the number of training packages effected by the transition to the Standards for Training Packages. As a result many training packages have been endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). This has resulted in a massive workload for many RTOs across Australia.  To support RTOs to manage the transition and implement the revised training packages, the Australian Government, the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills and state and territory Skills Ministers have agreed to temporarily increase the period allowed to transition students to the updated training package qualifications under Standard 1.26 (a) of the Standards for RTOs 2015. [emaillocker id=6291]

RTOs will now have 18 months for transition, instead of the usual 12 months from the date the superseding training product was released to transition existing students to the updated training package qualifications, or to allow students to complete their studies and issue the appropriate qualification or statement of attainment.

It is important to note that this provision only applies for training products endorsed by the AISC from September 2015 until March 2016. You can review the full list of relevant qualifications by clicking on this link.

For more information on transitioning arrangements for superseded qualifications visit the Departments website or contact AuditExpress


Phone: 1300735541