The Department has released a list of 30 “Approved Providers” who will be able to deliver external VET (EVET) courses in schools. All of the 10 TAFE institutes and OTEN have been included in this list.
TAFE has a well-recorded history of delivering external VET courses for schools. These courses have supported student learning needs and ensured quality outcomes for students.
Due to the state government’s procurement policy, the Department conducted a tendering process for the delivery of EVET courses. Private providers were given the opportunity to tender for courses that might have been previously provided by TAFE. Arising from this process, the Department has approved 19 private providers to deliver EVET courses.
The recent report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia refers to the VET sector being “under threat” with “drastically plummeting enrolments in government supported providers, student exploitation, poor regulation and uncertainty”.
This follows media reports over a number of years regarding unscrupulous behaviour by some private providers who have made huge profits but failed to deliver courses or quality learning outcomes.
Federation’s Annual Conference raised significant concerns that if schools choose a private provider they would lose a part of their staffing entitlement to have courses delivered by registered training organisations that operate for profit. There are also questions about how and where these courses will be delivered, and the industrial and legal issues that can arise. In particular, members have raised concerns about student safety and whether private providers will accommodate the additional needs of students with disabilities. It is unclear whether the responsibility for monitoring BOSTES requirements will be the responsibility of the school or of the private provider.
Annual Conference warned that, in view of the risks, schools should carefully consider whether it is viable, or appropriate, for students to enrol in privately-provided EVET courses.
Federation will continue to monitor the situation and urges members to continue to support and promote the provision of public education by choosing TAFE to deliver EVET courses.