Skills for All gets $27 million (catch up) in the South Australian State Budget

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In the recent South Australian State Government Budget, $27.0 million over two years (in addition to $38.7 million in 2012–13) was announced to support additional training under the Skills for All initiative.  The government says that this accelerates their commitment to creating 100,000 training places.

The 2012–13 estimated result (12.7%, 44 800) is an outcome of the significantly increased demand in VET through the commencement of Skills for All in July 2012.  The 2013–14 target (12.5%, 39 400) reflects a “levelling out in the demand in Skills for All places” aka a year to catch up and control spending.

Manufacturing

This is because the Tertiary Education: Budget for 2012-13 was $526 million; with an estimated result 2012-13 $559 million (difference of $33 million); and for 2013-14 $523 million.

So how will this overspend be addressed?  Well quoted from the budget paper, “Changes in operating expenses: Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology ? projected to decrease by $132.5 million primarily due to the profile of Skills for All expenditure and the implementation of budget savings measures.”

“TAFE SA fee revenue has been revised down across all years to reflect the lower level of full-fee paying students, due to the impact of the high Australian dollar and changes to the visa application process on the number of international students, as well as a higher number of TAFE SA students undertaking free courses.”

Budget paper 4 volume 3 has the agency statement for DFEEST that outlines the following existing projects and programs:

  1. Existing projects – campus refurbishment, Mining and Engineering Industry Training Centre, Phoenix, Student Information System, Sustainable Industries Education Centre, Trade Training Centres in Berri and Craigmore, and the Victor Harbor TAFE SA campus.
  2. Annual programs – IT systems and infrastructure, purchase of plant and equipment for libraries and TAFE SA.

In 2013/14 the $38.2 million decrease in expenses is primarily due to:

higher Skills for All activity in 2012–13 ($18.7 million)

lower expenditure in 2013–14 for the Commonwealth Government funded Productivity Places Program National Partnership ($12.2 million)

once-off expenditure in 2012–13 associated with the transfer of proceeds from asset sales to the consolidated account ($8.2 million)

increased efficiencies from training consolidation in 2013–14 ($6.6 million)

higher targeted voluntary separation packages (TVSP) provided in 2012–13 ($3.7 million)

higher expenditure in 2012–13 for the Commonwealth Government funded Industry and

Indigenous Skills Centres program ($1.1 million) partially offset by:

–          higher expenditure in 2013–14 associated with the Skills in the Workplace program ($4.7 million)

–          lower expenditure in 2012–13 due to a reclassification of budget from operating to investing mainly in relation to information technology systems ($2.8 million).

For 2012/13 there has been a $45.9 million increase in expenses is primarily due to:

additional support and redirection of funding for increased Skills for All activity ($35.9 million) and supplementation to TAFE SA ($13.0 million)

once-off expenditure in 2012–13 associated with the transfer of proceeds from asset sales to consolidated account ($8.2 million)

deferred expenditure for the Commonwealth Government funded Productivity Places Program National Partnership from 2011–12 to 2012–13 ($7.3 million)

increased depreciation and amortisation expense following asset revaluations in 2011–12 ($3.9 million).

TVSPs provided in 2012–13 ($3.7 million) partially offset by:

lower expenditure associated with TAFE SA fee-for-service activity due to changes in market conditions ($15.3 million)

lower expenditure associated with the Skills in the Workplace program ($11.3 million)

lower expenditure due to the reclassification of budget from operating to investing mainly in relation to information technology systems ($2.8 million)

a reallocation of expenditure relating to regulatory services to sub-program 1.3 Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services ($1.5 million).

The state government outlines the following highlights for 2012-13:

Commenced implementation of Skills for All providing South Australians with vocational education and training and new services resulting in:

– enrolments increasing by 43 per cent in semester 2, 2012, that supported an extra 23 000 students into training to meet industry demand for skills, compared to the same period in 2011

– 270 students with complex needs receiving learning case management under a trial of Learner Support Services with a 44 per cent completion rate for qualifications

– 214 555 unique visitors to the Skills for All website and over 26 000 Skills for All Infoline enquiries

Increased the number of government funded VET students in South Australia by 21.3 per cent in 2012, from 101 600 in 2011 to 123 300 in 2012

In 2012:

– 90.1 per cent of South Australian VET graduates were satisfied with the overall quality of their training, above the national average of 89.1 per cent

– 90.0 per cent of TAFE SA graduates were satisfied with the overall quality of their training which was higher than for TAFE graduates nationally

The TAFE SA Act 2012 was proclaimed, establishing TAFE SA as a new statutory corporation effective from 1 November 2012, allowing it to be more responsive to student and industry demand in a contestable market.

South Australia had the highest number of apprentices and trainees on record for commencements (26 300) and completions (12 600) and the second highest number in training (40 000) as at 30 September 2012.

Commenced construction of the Mining and Engineering Industry Training Centre at the TAFE SA Regency campus which will help meet the training needs of the 25 000 new workers projected to be required by mining, engineering and allied industries over the next five years.

What do you need to keep an eye on in 2013-14?

  • Regular (quarterly) review of the Skills for All Funded list to control spending in 2013/14 and to balance the over spend in 2012/13
  • TAFE SA’s financial results
  • The local fee for service market and how long it takes to ‘bounce back’
  • Sustainable Industries Education Centre at Tonsley Park
  • Mining and Engineering Industry Training Centre at TAFE SA Regency Campus
  • Skills in the Workplace program
  • Compare your students satisfaction rates with 90% averages
  • Market share with the high number of traineeships and apprenticeships if that is a market you are operating in
  • How evidence of industry demand is reflected in the Funded list and initiatives
  • Development of the Skills for All in Regions Networks
  • Adult and Community Education opportunities
  • Case management approach to industry and enterprise workforce development
  • Quality Assurance and Compliance Framework in 6 priority areas
  • Real-time monitoring and risk based quality assurance measures
  • Training Guarantee for SACE Students and Innovative Community Action Networks
  • MEGA Digital Entrepreneurship program and new industry representatives as MEGA mentors
  • Maximising the benefits of National Broadband Network infrastructure and promoting digital literacy programs e.g. ForwardIT.

In terms of skills reform,

The performance targets in the South Australian Implementation Plan require the South Australian training system to increase the number of qualifications completed by students by about 18 000 qualification completions over five years.  Other completion targets are specified for higher level qualifications, for Indigenous Australians, for students reporting a disability, and for mature-aged (45–64 years old) employed Australians.

Based upon the Skills for All results to date, with 44 800 in 2012 and 39 400 targeted for 2013-14 and the increased number of government funded VET students in South Australia from 101 600 in 2011 to 123 300 in 2012, this means the target of an additional 18 000 qualifications in terms of enrolment has been reached in about 9 months!

What’s the most important calculation factor in this equation and VET costing?  Qualification completion rates!!!

Written by Wendy Perry, VET Specialist, WPAA and Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, June 2013.

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