‘Pay when you graduate’ training gets off the ground

by L&D21 Oct 2016
A youthful Sydney entrepreneur has set up a new vocational training provider that will see students studying for free, established in response to the federal government’s recent crackdown on cavalier VET institutions.
Adam Brimo, 29, has set up OpenLearning after reading countless stories of VET providers recruiting students to courses they would never complete, saddling them with mountains of debt and receiving taxpayer-funded government grants in the process.
Brimo’s concept will see students allowed to study for free, but when it comes to graduating, if they want accreditation, they must pay a fee. The nationally registered training course will be reliant on peer-to-peer and community interaction, but promises high-quality learning.
Brimo explains, “At the moment a lot of students are signing up to vocational education and not completing, but because they’ve paid upfront, they’ve lost the money.
“So there are a lot of people who’ve paid thousands of dollars up front with nothing to show for it.”
Completion rates for government-funded VET courses hover around a low 38 per cent – completion rates for online courses are even lower.
Initially, Brimo has partnered with Hunter TAFE, one of the largest regional vocational education providers in the country, to offer three Certificate IV qualifications in business through learn.com.au. This pilot scheme will run for 18 month to gauge student interest.
These courses will cost $1,250 for the certificate (payable upon completion), compared to the average fee for Certificate IV in business of $3,000. The courses are not eligible for government fee support.
Brimo added, “Unless students enjoy it and get something out of it they’re not going to complete the course and get certified [and pay]. That’s actually quite important because it does align everyone. 
“In the existing system, a lot of private providers might not even want students to complete because they’ve already been paid for it, and they may not want to do the work required to have them complete.”