Thursday, 11 February 2016 22:06

Students left with debts, no qualifications with private college collapse: Union

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The Victorian Branch of the Australian Education Union has reacted angrily to the latest collapse of another private training company leaving thousands of students with huge debts and no qualifications.

The union has called for public TAFEs to be properly funded, saying that the collapse of the private company demonstrates why taxpayer funds must be prioritised TAFE colleges.

The union was reacting to this week’s collapse and placement into administration of Global Intellectual Holdings, the company behind several private Australian training providers, including Aspire College of Education, The Design Works College of Design, RTO Services Group and the Australian Indigenous College.

“The vocational education and training loan system has been widely rorted by for-profit private training colleges,” said Meredith Peace, Victorian Branch President of the Australian Education Union.

“Almost on a daily basis we see new evidence the private provider model of vocational training delivery is broken beyond repair.  When private training companies collapse it is students that are left bearing significant debt and without qualifications.  

“Governments have failed to take the decisive steps needed to stop the rorting and ensure that tens of millions of dollars more of taxpayer funds are not wasted.”

According to Peace, the Andrews Government must redirect “public funding away from dodgy private collages and to our TAFE institutes as their key response to the review of vocational education and training that was completed in December last year”.  

“We know that TAFEs are best placed to deliver high quality vocational education and training to make Victorians ready for employment.

“There have been countless examples of unscrupulous training outfits signing-up vulnerable jobseekers, claiming government subsidies and saddling the jobseeker with debt.   

“Courses are usually delivered online, with minimum course hours rarely met, and too often students never complete the online modules at all.  If they do, they certainly do not graduate with the skills they need to gain employment.

“We need a training system that can deliver for industries of the future.  The only solution is to limit the amount of money private providers can claim from government at 30 percent of the overall VET funding budget.”

Peace says the rest of the funding must go to TAFEs.

“It is time the Victorian Government acted to guarantee 70% of VET funding for public TAFEs.

“Public TAFEs are trusted to deliver skilled graduates and must be properly resourced.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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