Release type: Media Release

Date:

New data supports focus on student choice and VET quality

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham
Assistant Minister for Education and Training

New data on vocational education and training (VET) enrolments supports the Australian Government’s reforms to lift the quality of all vocational education and training (VET) providers and support greater student choice.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, said the Government-funded students and courses 2014 report, released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), showed that whilst overall enrolments had decreased between 2013 and 2014, enrolments in the government-funded VET system had increased for:

  • Indigenous students
  • Students with disability
  • Students from non-English speaking backgrounds; and
  • Students enrolling in non-government providers.

“The figures show that there were almost 1.8 million students enrolled in a government-subsidised course or a fee-for-service course at a public training provider in 2014,” Senator Birmingham said.

“This figure does not include the estimated more than 1 million students who undertake non-government-subsidised, or fee-for-service, courses.

“Each year the Commonwealth provides around $1.8 billion direct to the state and territory governments to fund their subsidised training systems. In 2014 the Commonwealth also provided $1.7 billion in student loans to enable students to undertake diploma and advanced diploma courses with VET FEE-HELP.”

Recently the Mitchell Institute* found that “the Commonwealth’s investment in VET has grown faster in recent years than that of five state and territory governments.”

“Federal payments for VET to the states have been increasing, as has federal support for students through VET FEE-HELP,” Senator Birmingham said. “This data demonstrates the importance of the states keeping up their end of the bargain to help maintain enrolments.”

“The skills provided by VET are critical to Australia’s competitiveness and productivity. That is why the Australian Government is has introduced major reforms, such as tough new standards for all registered training organisations, and reforms to VET FEE-HELP (including changes starting tomorrow that ban withdrawal fees and tighten marketing of VET FEE-HELP to students), to ensure that whichever providers students and employers choose for their training, public or non-government, they are high quality and deliver real skills for real jobs.”

*Peter Noonan, Gerald Burke, Andrew Wade, Sarah Pilcher, Expenditure on education and training in Australia, Analysis and background paper, p8 available at http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/reports/expenditure-on-education-and-training-in-australia/