Will the Queensland Budget 2014 support a first class training system?

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The Queensland Government states they will give the state a first class training system Through Great skills. Real opportunities. including:

  • creating a better partnership between government, industry and employers through the Ministerial Industry Commission which identifies industry skilling needs to inform government funding priorities
  • a revised VET investment framework that features fully contestable funding and is delivered through programs including the Certificate 3 Guarantee and new Higher Level Skills and Industry Partnerships strategies
  • making career planning and choosing a course and provider easier for students through a comprehensive new website from 1 July 2014
  • finalisation of the transformation of TAFE Queensland into an independent, commercially focused public provider
  • an improved approach to investing in and managing training assets.  From 1 July 2014, the Government will transfer ownership of the state’s training infrastructure and equipment to the Queensland Training Assets Management Authority (QTAMA), a new specialist commercial asset manager
  • the formation of the state’s first dual-sector entity through the merger of Central Queensland University with the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE.

Overall skills funding is in line with the objective to,

…grow a four-pillar economy based on tourism, agriculture, resources and construction by investing in Queenslanders’ skills and employment initiatives in these areas.Queensland budget VET

The Department of Education, Training and Employment will make capital purchases of $410.5 million in 2014-15.

This includes $394.9 million for schools, $10.9 million for early childhood education and $4.7 million for training. The department will make capital grant payments of $107.6 million to other organisations.

Highlights of the department’s capital program include:

  • $93.8 million to continue preparations to introduce Year 7 as the first year of secondary schooling from 2015 by building, refurbishing and reconfiguring state school classrooms and flexible learning areas
  • $23 million to construct a new secondary school at Highfields
  • $59.3 million for the 2014-15 allocation to the $1.4 billion Queensland Schools PPP project for 10 new schools in SEQ, with the first two schools to commence at Burpengary and Pimpama in 2015
  • $24.4 million to continue the delivery of the Australian Government Trade Training Centres in Schools Program.

Key initiatives for 2014-15 continue to implement Great skills. Real opportunities. With the five-year action plan including:

– delivering fully contestable training funding from 1 July 2014;

– continuing to support TAFE Queensland as an independent statutory body by providing a VET Purchasers Grant of $134 million;

– transferring management and ownership of public training assets to Queensland Training Assets Management Authority (QTAMA) to rationalise the asset base, facilitate third-party access and improve asset use from 1 July 2014;

– increasing access to government subsidised training places, up to and including eligible Queenslanders first post-school certificate level III qualification in priority training areas under the Certificate 3 Guarantee;

– investing in delivery of nationally recognised, entry-level training to apprentices and trainees under the User Choice 2010-2015 program;

– continuing to offer fee-free apprenticeships and traineeships in high priority skills areas to Year 12 graduates in the calendar year following the completion of Year 12; and

– allocating $10 million to registered training organisations and community organisations to create job-focused training as part of the $47 million investment over five years under Community Learning.

– forming Queensland’s first dual-sector university through the merger of Central Queensland Institute of TAFE (CQIT) with Central Queensland University (CQU)

– investing up to $13 million over three years in the School to Trade Pathway and Group Training Organisation Additional Apprentice Bonus initiatives to support the commitment to create 10,000 additional apprentices over six years

– investing $3 million of $10 million committed over four years as part of the Supporting Women Scholarships initiative to fund 500 scholarships for women of up to $20,000 in traditionally male dominated fields in priority industries

– investing $1 million of $4 million over four years in partnership with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs under the Strategic Indigenous VET Partnership.

In 2014-15, the department will contribute to the Government’s commitment to red tape reduction by:

  • streamlining and modernising the regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships and other training matters through the implementation of the Further Education and Training Act 2014
  • implementing the new Queensland Government Building and Construction Training Policy to support the Government’s pledge to create 10,000 new apprenticeships over six years
  • progressing amendments to education legislation to reduce regulatory burden, support greater local decision making at the school level, facilitate innovative pathways into the teaching profession for high-calibre graduates from 2015 and clarify governance arrangements for non-state schools governed by corporations established by letters patent
  • streamlining processes regarding directions prohibiting entering school premises to increase principal autonomy and simplify decision making and appeal processes
  • considering any recommendations for reducing regulatory red tape stemming from the 2014 Review of the National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care and the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning.

The VET outcomes service standards outline very specific targets and actual figures for:

  • Competencies successfully completed
  • Proportion of Queenslanders with higher qualifications
  • Number of completions – Apprenticeships, Traineeships and School-Based Apprenticeships
  • Satisfaction – Graduates and Employers
  • Average cost per competency successfully completed

These are stats that all endorsed providers will need to be across and know inside out.

As a statutory body, TAFE Queensland’s is focused on being efficient and effective in performing its functions, differentiating its product to meet client demand and aiming to be commercially successful.

In 2014-15, TAFE Queensland will:

  • commence the management of TAFE Queensland’s operations following its transfer from the Department of Education, Training and Employment
  • continue to match programs and delivery locations to the future demand for skills
  • implement new enterprise ICT systems to support efficient student and learning management, human resource and finance processes
  • establish a new product management framework for the development and delivery of learning products that will delineate TAFE Queensland’s offerings.

For Vocational Education and Training (VET), the Certificate 3 Guarantee Tuition Fee Subsidy is estimated at $100.8 million for 2014-15.

The Certificate 3 Guarantee commenced in 2013-14 and replaces the Vocational Education Training – Tuition Fee Subsidy program which was previously only available to TAFE Institutes.  This subsidy arrangement was extended to approved private registered training organisations (pre-qualified suppliers) from 1 July 2013, and was largely provided to subsidise the tuition fees paid by students undertaking eligible vocation education and training courses (primarily at Certificate III).

The annual average dollar value of the Government fee subsidy for each qualification ranges from $416 to $6,900, depending on the qualification studied.

In 2014-15 the estimate for the Higher Level Skills Tuition Fee Subsidy is $55.0 million.

During 2013-14, funding was largely provided to subsidise the tuition fees paid by students undertaking eligible vocational education and training courses (Certificate IV and above) at TAFE Queensland.  This subsidy arrangement will be extended to approved private registered training organisations from 1 July 2014.

Higher Level Skills is a new program for 2013-14 and replaces the Vocational Education Training – Tuition Fee Subsidy program which was previously only available to TAFE Institutes.  Actual course fees paid by individual students are dependent on the program of study, the annual average dollar value of the Government fee subsidy for each qualification ranges from $1,050 to $6,910.  The decrease between the 2013-14 estimated actual and the 2014-15 estimate is due to a decrease in the number of qualifications funded under the program.

A higher level of activity is expected in 2014-15 for the User Choice – Apprentice and Trainee Training Subsidy with an estimated budget of $225.0 million.

The User Choice program provides Government funding to training providers to reduce the cost of accredited, entry level training for Queensland apprentices and trainees.  The program enables apprentices, trainees and their employers to select a preferred provider from an approved list for the delivery of accredited training to meet their specific needs.  Whilst the full cost of each training course varies, the annual average dollar value of the Government fee subsidy per student is $2,726.

In light of this investment, providers will need to fully understand their costs, market share and position in the market, to sustain and grow their business.  They will also need to understand the Queensland Government’s targets and how their outcomes line up.


Written by Wendy Perry, VET Strategist, WPAA, 16 June 2014.

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