Funding the individual may well contribute to higher apprentice completions – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Funding the individual may well contribute to higher apprentice completions – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Announced last week on Budget night, under the new Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System, apprentices and trainees in priority occupations will receive a direct payment to assist with the cost of undertaking an apprenticeship.

After years of apprentice and trainee funding focusing on employer incentives this new direct payment to the individual could be a game changer for improving completion rates.

From 1 July 2022 the direct payment to the apprentice or trainee in a priority occupation will be up to $5,000 over two years. This amount will be paid in four allocations directly to the individual. As the apprentice or trainee moves through the first two years, they will receive progressive payments at six monthly intervals.

As we know, completion rates have been one of the significant challenges of the apprenticeship program. Based on NCVER data, 46.7% of training contracts for apprentices who commenced in 2016 were cancelled or withdrawn. But the most important part of the NCVER data is that approximately one third of apprenticeship contracts of training ceased in the first year.

Therefore, this approach to incremental payments straight to the apprentice may reduce the likelihood of the individual abandoning the apprenticeship in the risky first year.

This direct payment is designed to ease the cost pressure of being an apprentice. This is particularly important in a full employment market where the individual has a choice. For individuals choosing to take up an apprenticeship, giving them an incentive to remain with it past year 1 may well be significant.

In phase two of this program the apprentice direct payment will be reduced to $3000. Knowing the reduction will be coming may also be an incentive for more individuals to take up an apprenticeship or traineeship in one of the priority industries from 1 July. And if they complete two years then the probability of them completing the apprenticeship rises significantly.

Employers will also continue to receive commencement incentives. The dual approach of both incentivising employers to take on an apprentice and rewarding the apprentice who stays the distance may well work positively. While there will be some concern that employer completion payments have been removed the data suggests it is the first two years of the apprenticeship where the greatest attrition occurs.

Therefore, providing funding to the individual as well as incentivising employers to take on an apprentice may just be what it takes to improve completions. This new policy is worth a go.

Save the date – TDA Convention 2022

VET advertising campaign hits the airwaves

The federal government has started to roll out a $7.5 million advertising campaign promoting the value of VET skills.

With the theme, ‘We, the skilled’, the campaign is scheduled to run until June 30 and outlines the benefits of VET skills and careers, and includes case studies and perspectives from employers and students.

“VET isn’t just for getting a trade – it can lead to an exciting career you may not have thought of,” one element of the campaign states.

The campaign will run during the federal election campaign but has been certified as complying with Commonwealth advertising guidelines.

See the VET skills campaign

Row erupts over skills agreement

Tensions have emerged between the Commonwealth and the states and territories over the delayed National Skills Agreement.

According to the Financial Review, skills ministers from six Labor states and territories wrote last week to Skills Minister Stuart Robert expressing concern over the government’s insistence on pushing a draft agreement that was rejected by all states and territories last year.

The AFR says say the letter outlines core grievances, including the potential for reduced funding to TAFEs and increased fees for some courses, as well as giving the National Skills Commission responsibility for setting prices.

‘‘States and territories requested the Commonwealth work constructively with us on the development of an alternative National Skills Agreement based on shared principles and priorities,’’ the letter stated, according to the AFR.

The article says Mr Robert has tabled three substantive offers to the states. He is reportedly prepared to continue negotiations to deliver some 800,000 additional training places over five years.

National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton told a Senate Estimates hearing on Friday that there had been extensive consultation with stakeholders on VET pricing reforms, including a working group which has met 16 times with states and territories since 2020.

“We are working cooperatively with states and territories. As an example of that we provided the states and territories with updated prices for around 500 qualifications, in response to the feedback we received from them in early March,” Mr Boyton said.

Few students take VET-in-schools despite the benefits, report says

VET programs delivered in secondary schools produce positive results for students through employment after completing their training, according to a new report from NCVER.

The report says the short-term outcomes from VET programs delivered in schools are positive, with about 75% of students employed or in further education and training six to 12 months after completing their training. This rises to about 80% four to five years after completing school.

“Undertaking a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship has been found to lead to higher rates of apprentice and traineeships or other types of employment post-school,” it says.

“The proportion of young people undertaking this type of VET program, however, has remained at less than 10% for the last five years.”

It says the quality of VET programs delivered in secondary schools is generally good, but says there are concerns about the quality of some programs, particularly those undertaken through third-party party arrangements, where a school is delivering programs as a third party to an RTO.

TAFETalks: Imagining an Integrated VET and HE Future, this Wednesday 6 April

The new Industry Clusters will focus on both vocational education and training (VET), and higher education (HE) as they develop skills solutions for their workforces. We have been discussing combined VET and HE solutions for a long time. What will be different under these new industry cluster arrangements which come into effect in 2023?

Please join industry experts and the CEO of Holmesglen Institute, Mary Faraone, for a panel discussion about how they think VET and HE integration might be different from 2023 onwards.

Guest speakers include:

  • Jodi Schmidt, CEO of the Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO)
  • Paul Walsh, CEO at Australian Industry Standards (AIS)
  • Phil Clarke, General Manager, Industry Engagement from Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA)
  • Mary Faraone, CEO of Holmesglen Institute and Board Chair of TDA.

To register for this event, please click here


Vacancies in the Pacific for vocational managers

The Australian Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is recruiting for Vocational Training Managers, based in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The Vocational Training Managers will manage the delivery of Australian qualifications and skill sets in the countries of responsibility, ensuring high quality delivery and regulatory compliance whilst driving a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

APTC is an Australian Government initiative, delivering Australian qualifications and working with Pacific partner countries. It is implemented by TAFE Queensland.

Applications for the three positions close 11:59pm Fiji Time, Sunday 10 April 2022.

See more

Australian Skills Classification gets an update

The Australian Skills Classification – the definitive guide to identifying the skills that underpin jobs – has had an update.

Since its launch as a beta version a year ago, the National Skills Commission has undertaken work with industry stakeholders to refine and expand it.

The latest Australian Skills Classification 2.0 has added more than 500 skills profiles for occupations, bringing the total number to 1100.

The classification identifies three types of skills for every occupation: specialist tasks, technology tools and core competencies. Similar specialist tasks are grouped together into skills clusters, which are further grouped into skills cluster families.

The newest version has greater coverage of occupations with VET pathways and alignment with the structure of Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

ASQA guide helps explain course accreditation

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has published a new guide to help course owners understand what they need to do when applying for course accreditation.

The guide helps interpret and apply the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2021 and the Australian Qualifications Framework in the course documentation.

It explains the requirements for accreditation through detailed explanations and examples.

See the Users’ guide to developing a course document

Diary Dates

CCA National ACE Summit
5 April 2022
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TAFETalks: Imagining an Integrated VET and HE Future
6 April 2022
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AVETRA 2022 Conference
Are we there yet? Building a research community to share VET’s future
28-29 April 2022
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VET CEO Conference
Velg Training
16-20 May 2022
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Disability Employment Australia Conference
31 May – 2 June 2022
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World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2022 World Congress 

15-17 June 2022
Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain)
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Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2022 Skills Conference
15 June 2022
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
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31st National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
6-8 July 2022, Melbourne
Call for abstracts open now!
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ACER Research Conference 2022
Reimagining assessment
22-25 August 2022
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National Skills Week 2022
22-28 August 2022
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WorldSkills Shanghai 2022
12-17 October 2022
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Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
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2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
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TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
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VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
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