Turnbull set to shake up ‘shambolic’ training system

by L&D06 Nov 2015
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is no fan of the current national vocational training system, calling it as “a shambles”.

“We don’t want to continue to subsidise what has turned out to be in many cases very speculative and poor-quality courses being offered,” he said.

As part of an overhaul of the system, the federal government is set to discard courses in make-up artistry, aromatherapy and mind medicine.

The taxpayer-funded courses can typically range in price from $29,900 for a diploma in herbal medicine to $16,500 for a massage diploma.

The winners are set to be trades, childcare, aged-care and information-technology which are likely to get funding priority as part of the changes soon to be made to the VET FEE-HELP loans scheme. 

Kate Carnell, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said taxpayers’ money would be better used on trades training, IT workers and programmers where there are more opportunities for employment.  

“This is taxpayer’s money so we expect it to be targeted to areas of need, with processes in place to ensure quality and relevance,” she was quoted as saying by The Australian.

Despite the number of students obtaining VET FEE-HELP loans from the Commonwealth doubling between 2013-2014, only one third of the vocational training students actually completed the courses.

Additionally, a senate inquiry has revealed that VET FEE-HELP has been the catalyst for a significant cost shift from the states to the federal government. The findings urged the Turnbull government to offer fewer loans to students, and to crackdown on private college eligibility.

The federal  government lent $1.4 billion last year to pay for the tuition fees, and borrowers do not have to pay back the loans until they earn more than $54,000 per year. There were also less students finishing private courses compared to those in the public system (TAFE included).