The VET Sector News - December 2019

December 2, 2019

Poorer and regional Australian students lag behind richer peers, report finds


Poorer Australian students are 18 months behind their better-off peers at school, a report by Deloitte has found.


And regional students were on average eight months behind at school.


If academic results could be improved by 50% for poorer and Aboriginal students, the economy could get a boost of more than $200bn over 50 years, the report released on Sunday said.


For more information, please read here.


Bumpy road ahead for Australian universities


Australia’s higher education success has rested on policy reforms that started in the late 1980s. These reforms resulted in the amalgamation of institutions and the creation of a unified national system; an increase in the number of publicly funded places available for study; and a new funding model based on discipline and level of study, among many other changes.


The main argument for the reforms, which continued into the 2000s and were influenced by neo-liberal forces which underpinned market-driven approaches, was that Australia needed to be more competitive internationally. 


With each subsequent wave of reform, the Australian government further advanced liberalisation, heightened institutional competition and increased deregulation and marketisation of the higher education sector.


For more information, please read here. 


Chinese students paid to rort Australian universities as government tackles cheating


In a toilet stall at Monash University, I see advertisements in Chinese for essay writing services plastered across the door.


Every time I go on Chinese social media there they are again. International students with poor Englishcan pay to have all their essays completed for them by ghostwriters.


Two-and-a-half years ago, I came to Melbourne from Shanghai in China to start a master's degree in journalism because standards here are said to be very high. I expected to find a fair and honest academic environment.


But what I found when I arrived in Australia was a thriving contract cheating industry.


The proliferation of advertisements on the Chinese social media app WeChat suggests scammers are increasingly targeting Chinese students, the biggest international student group in Australia.


Universities around the world compete for a slice of the education market. Indeed, international student fees contributed 23.3 per cent to Australian universities' revenue in 2017.


For more information, please read here


The hidden stories of Australia's first women working in computing


In 1907 Prudence Valentine Williams became one of 72 Australian women tasked with cataloguing all of the stars in roughly one fifth of the night sky.


Williams was just 15 years old when she was recruited to work at the Perth Observatory as a "star measurer" on an ambitious international project called the Astrographic Catalogue.


The 72 women who worked on the catalogue in Australia were also among the very first women in the country to work in computing.


Their story was almost entirely omitted, and nearly forgotten — and they aren't the only women of computing who have been sidelined in the history books.

For more information, please read here.


TAFE going backwards under Annastacia Palaszczuk 


A national biennial survey of employers released today shows that employers in Queensland are losing confidence in TAFE.


Shadow Minister for Training and Skills Development Fiona Simpson said it was a concern that only 41.6% of employers with apprentices or trainees are choosing TAFE.


"This is a drop of more than 10% since the Palaszczuk Labor Government came to power in 2015," Ms Simpson said.


"In the last two years alone, confidence in TAFE dropped more than 7%.


"Annastacia Palaszczuk's plan for TAFE clearly isn't working.


Since March 2015 apprenticeship and traineeship completions have fallen by nearly a third (29%) and there are also almost 9000 fewer students in-training under Labor.


"Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements also fell by over 5% since 2018.


For more information, please read here.


Trade apprenticeships: The most popular ones in Australia and how to sign up


New entry-level jobs are being created across the trades, with 2.9 percent more people starting an apprenticeship this year than last.


The biggest jump in commencements were within the fields of automotive and engineering (up 8.4 per cent year on year) and electrotechnology and telecommunications (7.2 per cent), the Federal Government’s NCVER March quarter figures show.