Vic Govt moves to overhaul scandal-plagued TAFE system

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Certificates in sugar milling and embroidery are among 500 courses to lose Victorian Government funding as part of an overhaul of the scandal-plagued vocational education and training sector.

The Government has pledged to better manage Victoria’s training and TAFE system by imposing tougher contracts on training colleges to stop unscrupulous providers preying on vulnerable students and ripping off taxpayers.

Training and Skills Minister, Steve Herbert, said Labor was cutting the number of Government-funded courses from about 1,500 to 1,000 so public money was not being spent on worthless qualifications that rarely led to jobs.

“They were dead-end courses, never linked to industry needs,” he said.

‘System in shambles’

“There were courses on the list such as sugar refining. Well, there’s no sugar refined in Victoria.”

Under the Skills First scheme, the Government will penalise providers who fail to assess students’ suitability for courses and force training colleges to disclose deals with brokers on their websites.

New requirements to improve the quality of online and workplace-based training, and the right to publish the results of student and employer satisfaction surveys will be introduced.

The Government will also revise subsidy rates.

“The days of low quality, dodgy trainers intent on exploiting the system and undermining the viability of quality public and private providers are over,” a Government brochure said.

“Private providers will be able to focus their business plans on delivering great training rather than worrying about poor quality, low-cost competitors and their bottom line.”

The changes are the result of a review led by former Holmesglen TAFE chief executive Bruce Mackenzie, who said the system was a mess.

“There was no doubt that the Victorian training system in 2012 was at its knees and had descended into a complete shambles, so this is significant reform,” he said.

The Government has cancelled the contracts of 18 providers as part of a crackdown on dodgy training colleges and hopes to recoup $40 million from the sector.

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