Message from the CEO (31 Jan 2022)

Message from the CEO (31 Jan 2022)

Welcome to our January edition of the VET sector magazine.

In this edition, there are articles discussing the latest news from the Department of Home Affairs on changes being made, and an article explaining how online courses can help develop a skilled workforce and much more.

We thank you for taking the time to read this publication and we hope it provides you with useful information. So keep up with us throughout 2022 by either visiting our websites and or like us on our social media profiles and pages.

Please contact us via email if you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered or if you have any questions you’d want answered.




Australian student visa changes in 2022

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Australian government will offer visa rebates to students and backpackers who wish to visit the nation in an effort to fill a record number of vacant positions.

Visitors to Australia who enter on a student or working holiday visa, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will receive a rebate on their visa application fees, he said. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed confidence that new arrivals would be able to assist in filling some of the country’s “critical workforce shortages,” particularly in the hospitality and agricultural sectors.

Following a large outbreak of the omicron Covid-19 variety in Australia, the country’s economy has been under growing strain over the past few months. Workers who have been forced to isolate themselves as a result of contracting the virus have caused supply shortages across the country, resulting in some grocery shelves being completely bare in some areas. According to a number of food and logistics companies, between 10 per cent and 50 per cent of their personnel were absent from their places of employment on any given day.

Morrison did not specify how the rebate would be structured, but he did state that it will be available to students for the next eight weeks and working holiday visa holders for the following twelve weeks. A total of AU$55 million ($39.5 million) is expected to be spent on the scheme, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stating that the government hopes to get applications from as many as 175,000 people.

Australia’s employment vacancies reached a record high in the three months prior to the latest Covid-19 outbreak, rising by 18.5 per cent to nearly 400,000 in the three months prior to November. While the unemployment rate rose to 4.7 per cent in October and increased to 4.6 per cent in November, the rate decreased in November.

Deputy Prime Minister and Opposition Labor Leader Anthony Albanese claimed in an opinion piece distributed by his office on Wednesday that Australia was “too reliant on migrant labor.” Albanese stated that if the economy is to properly recover from the pandemic, the Morrison government must address a skills gap in the workforce.

According to him, the long-term solution is to train more Australians in order to meet our own labor needs. In the face of a skills scarcity and two million Australians who are either unemployed or underemployed, it is remarkable that we are experiencing a skills shortage.

Australia, according to Morrison, is still in a good position when it comes to its Covid-19 response, as seen by high vaccination rates and a low number of deaths when compared to other western countries. As he continued, “the crest of this omicron wave is either upon us now or will come upon us in various states over the following two weeks.”

There have been a number of announcements from the federal government to address significant worker shortages as well as to encourage the quick return of overseas students and working holidaymakers to Australia.

The announcements include:

Visa extensions for Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who have been affected by COVID-19.

Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who are eligible for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa because they missed out on time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international travel restrictions will have their visas extended until 30 September 2022, according to a government announcement made on January 18. It allows eligible Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who were affected by the COVID-19 travel limitations to enter or remain in Australia to live and work until they can apply for and be granted a replacement Temporary Graduate visa under the COVID-19 regulations.

Work restrictions for students on student visas have been lifted for the time being.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced a further temporary easing of the 40-hour per-fortnight restriction on work hours for overseas students across all sectors of the Australian economy in order to address acute manpower concerns. However, the increased flexibility in working hours for student visa holders does not alter the requirement that student visa holders must maintain their course enrollment, ensure adequate course attendance, and make satisfactory progress in their courses. Student visa holders who cancel their enrollment and cease attending classes, or who fail to make adequate progress in their courses, may be in violation of the terms and conditions of their student visa.

Student visa application fees will be refunded to those who arrive before March 19, 2022.

Student visa application fees will be refunded to international students who arrive in Australia between the dates of 19 January and 19 March 2022, according to government announcements made earlier this year. This precaution applies to students who already have a visa and may have been to Australia on that visa prior to returning to their home country during the pandemic, as well as students who are currently studying in Australia. Student visa applicants who are granted a visa and travel to Australia before the 19th of March, 2022, will be covered by this provision as well. It does not apply to students who are already in Australia at the time of application.

Detailed information will be made available on the Department of Home Affairs’ website in the very near future.

How online courses can help you become a skilled worker

Online courses are popular in the workplace. They provide flexibility and convenience for people who want to learn something in either their own time or during work hours.

Online courses have been around for decades, and they have recently started to gain real traction. There are many different types of online courses available that can help you improve your skills.

Some examples of online courses include:

  • General education courses: Courses that teach you about specific topics like language, history, maths, or science
  • Professional development courses: Courses that teach you skills like coding, social media marketing, or public speaking
  • Technical training: Courses that teach you how to use a specific tool or technology

Online courses are typically offered by colleges, training organisations and universities that offer online degrees, certificates, and professional development programs. They can be taken at any time and from anywhere for individuals or groups of people. Some organisations offer their own online professional development courses for their employees in order to provide them with more opportunities for learning.

It used to be that if you wanted a skilled job, you had to go to campus to get a degree. This is no longer the case and there are several reasons why:

First and foremost is speed – learning happens faster and more efficiently online than it ever can in a classroom. With online courses, there’s no need for students to break out of their normal routine, which makes it easier to fit studies into lifestyle. In addition, with access to all course materials from any computer with Internet access, distance is no longer a barrier for those who cannot attend classes due to distance, work or family obligations. These factors alone make web-based education suitable even for full-time employees looking for an edge over their competition

Online courses are not only beneficial for the students, but also for employers. Online learning platforms offer a wide range of opportunities to develop skills and gain knowledge in a variety of fields.

Online courses can help in becoming a skilled worker today. Online courses have become more accessible with the advent of online learning platforms such as Coursera, Udacity, and others. The benefits of online courses are well documented by experts who have been teaching online for years now.

Let’s focus on how online courses are helpful to us:

Learn anything, anytime

Online courses can be accessed from anywhere and they are more affordable than traditional education. They also provide flexibility in the learning process and allow students to learn at their own pace, at their convenience.

The most important advantage of online courses is that they are available 24/7 with no time constraints on when they need to complete the coursework. They also provide a lot of support through discussions, forums, videos, and other resources that come with the course materials. The technology allows them to study at any time of day or night, even when they have other commitments like work or family.

A great resource for learning new skills

Online courses are becoming an important resource for people who want to learn new skills. They are more accessible, flexible and cheaper than traditional education.

Online courses can help you learn new skills and retain your industry knowledge in today’s job market. Online courses are not just for students anymore; they can also be used as a resource for professionals who want to upgrade their skill sets.

Online learning platforms have made it easier for people to learn and find the best online course that is suitable for them. They have also made it easier to find the most suitable course that meets the requirements of your industry. This is because online courses can be tailored according to your specific needs and skill sets.

Learn new skills that can change your future career path.

Online courses are an effective way to learn new skills and advance your career without having to spend years on campuses and classrooms. They also provide an alternative for those who cannot afford the time or money required for traditional education methods. Online courses are becoming a common way to learn new skills and acquire knowledge that could change your career path in the future. Online courses are a great way to learn a skill in a more efficient way. They allow people to learn at their own pace and they can also be interactive and engaging.

The demand for skilled workers is constantly increasing. With an online course you can start your journey towards becoming a skilled worker.

CAQA Resources – Converting files to interactive SCORM compliant documents

At CAQA Resources, we are currently converting all our learning and assessment resources to SCORM Compliant files. We will be using the new format to provide a seamless experience for our RTO providers and partners who use online learning platforms like Moodle and Canvas.

The use of technology in education is becoming the norm for delivery of theory and content as training organisations move towards an online learning environment where students have access to computers 24/7. Most students have access to smart devices that can help them learn at their own pace and in their own time.

This ensures our digital assets can be used across different platforms and devices. We are now able to provide content in an accessible format for learners.

Delivery methods

We have been using a variety of methods to deliver online learning and assessment material. The most popular method is through our website which allows users to access content through a browser or download content in PDF/Word/SCORM format or we send resources through emails after a purchase is made. We have also started to use digital media like video and audio clips which can be played on devices like tablets and smartphones.

Contact us at for more information and all of your resource needs.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) details of the proposed fees and charges that will apply under the full cost recovery model

In a recent announcement, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) detailed the proposed fees and charges that will apply under the full cost-recovery model, which will take effect on July 1 2022.

Although the full cost recovery of fees and charges was originally planned for 2020-21, it was postponed as a result of the COVID pandemic.

In a draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) outlines how fees and charges have been computed and how they will be imposed.

Registration, renewal, and change-of-registration fees for 2022-23 will be mostly at, or below, the amounts recommended in the 2019 consultation, according to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Course accreditation fees will remain at the same level as those suggested for 2019.

The decision was made not to proceed with the proposed introduction of an ARC for course accreditation in 2019.

For more information, please visit here.

Formative vs Summative Assessment: A Comparison

Formative and summative assessment, the two main types of assessing knowledge and skills, are often confused with one another. Both types of assessment have a place in the teaching and learning process, but it can be difficult to distinguish between formative and summative assessment.

Both formative and summative assessments are used to assess learning, provide feedback to students and collect information for the purposes of future planning. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences and their purposes in education and training.

Assessment is defined as the process of collecting, analysing and evaluating information about a student for educational purposes.

Assessment involves gathering evidence to understand where a student is in their learning journey and what they know and don’t know, as well as how to improve the quality of what the student is learning.

When planning a lesson or teaching session, what kind of assessment strategy, formative or summative, should you use?

Formative assessment (FA) is ongoing during the learning process, and provides feedback for improving instruction.

Summative assessment (SA) is characterised as a one-time event used to make a judgment or decision about a student’s knowledge or skills.

The main difference between these two types of assessments lies in how the information is used by the trainers/assessors.

Formative assessments, also known as formative evaluation (FE) , occur while the student is studying. Formative assessment measures the student’s progress throughout the learning process and provides immediate feedback to help the student improve skills. These assessments give trainers and assessors feedback on how well the students understand what they have been taught so far, and is an ongoing process throughout a teaching session or unit of study. The goal of formative assessment is to identify what each learner knows and does not know so that teaching can be customised accordingly. Some examples of formative assessments are quizzes, observations, homework, classwork, exit surveys, discussions in class, turning in research for early feedback, classroom polls, creating diagrams and charts such as Venn diagrams, T/charts and so on. The purpose of formative assessments is usually to improve student’s learning. The formative assessments consider evaluation as a process.

A summative assessment is the end assessment, meaning it occurs at the very end of a course or curriculum unit. It measures everything that the student has learned throughout the study period – not just one lesson – and also shows how much they have improved or mastered specific skills. A summative assessment results is a grade or other evaluation that determines the placement, advancement or competency of a student. This type of assessment generally does not provide feedback for improvement; rather, it is an endpoint from which to decide where the student stands with regards to meeting objectives set by the assessor. A summative assessment is usually based on certain standards and criteria that evaluates the student’s learning related to a training product. Some examples of summative assessments include end of unit/term assessments, end of unit portfolios, standards-based assessments, final projects or papers and so on. The purpose of summative assessments is usually to evaluate the student’s achievements and performance. The summative assessments consider evaluation processes as an end product.

The main difference between formative and summative assessments:

In addition, there is a significant difference between the assessment strategies in terms of obtaining reliable information about the student’s learning.

Formative assessments are used to determine if a student requires additional assistance by closely monitoring the learning process.

Summative assessments offer competency to students. It tells you whether a student has met the learning objectives based on performance.

The purpose of the assessment process

During the formative assessment, the goal is to help students enhance their overall learning. It is necessary to be able to provide meaningful feedback in order to do this.

In formative assessment, the evaluation takes place numerous times throughout the learning process, whereas with summative assessment, the evaluation takes place at the conclusion of a unit of competency or course. This also explains why the assessments may have different size and duration of completion.

The formative assessment covers only a small number of curriculum areas. For instance, a small set of questions based on one element from a unit of competency.

In summative assessment, the goal is to determine how well a student has done academically.

Decide whether or not you want your students to be the best at something, or whether you want them to transcend themselves each and every time they take part in it.

The summative evaluation comprises the evaluation of entire chapters or content areas in a unit of competency. For example, at the end of a unit of competency, there may only be one evaluation. Therefore there will be a number of assessments included when students are doing their summative assessments.

The top problems that the Australian VET sector is facing

The VET sector in Australia is growing in scale and sophistication every year.

The Australian VET sector is facing several problems that are likely to have a significant impact on its future. These include things like an aging workforce, the rising cost of education and a decline in students enrolling in VET qualifications.

The most significant problems that the Australian VET sector is facing are:

The lack of skilled staff to meet the demand of employers

The VET sector is struggling to meet the demand of employers. The lack of skilled staff has created a major problem for the sector.

The shortage of qualified and experienced people is one of the most significant problems that are faced by the Australian economy today. This problem has been intensifying over time.

The Australian government needs to take steps towards increasing the VET workforce by investing more into training programs and job opportunities that can improve staff skill sets.

Limited resources available for vocational education and training (VET) providers

The limited resources available for vocational education and training (VET) providers are affecting their ability to deliver quality services.

Solutions include increasing the funding for VET providers and supporting them with more resources so that they can offer more services.

To address this issue, many providers are using innovative strategies such as partnering with other institutions and using online learning platforms.

The lack of funding for vocational education and training (VET) providers means there are limited opportunities to create new businesses or grow existing ones due to the lack of capital.

Income and expenses

The lock-owns over the last two years meant that RTOs were left with declining income, rental facilities that could not be used, having to invest in online training options, and huge changes in many training packages requiring re-development of training and assessment resources. All this happened at the same time as international students were unable to travel to and study in Australia due to COVID which caused a decline in cash flow and income for many CRICOS registered RTOs.

Low staff retention rates

The Australian VET sector has been struggling with recruitment and with retaining enough qualified staff members for future growth. Providers are having a difficult time finding qualified applicants for vacancies and having problems keeping up with the technological advancements and skills of the workforce needed to stay competitive.

Quality of education and training

Despite the fact that the VET Quality Framework places obligations on trainers and RTOs to satisfy specific compliance and regulatory requirements in training, there are well-known inconsistencies in the training that is being offered.

Within RTOs, there might be discrepancies in quality. The VET Quality Framework requires that everyone fulfil the same training criteria; yet, there is some variation within the system as a whole. Students who acquire certification from two separate RTOs may not have the same degree of ability simply because the training methods used by the two organisations are different. One may be more theoretical in nature, whereas the other may be more hands-on in nature, and this will have an impact on the learner’s ability to complete the necessary activities on a job site.

Curriculum design and development

While RTOs already have a curriculum in place that they are actively following, developing a new curriculum or improving an existing curriculum is a time-consuming and costly process.

As technology changes at a rapid pace in the workplace, a curriculum that was once regarded as useful can suddenly become outdated and no longer be effective.

When only a small number of organisations provide this curriculum, the RTOs are left to shoulder the majority of the responsibility.

Digital literacy among students and trainers

Digital literacy among students and trainers is one of the barriers for the Australian VET sector. This can impact the students’ ability to learn new skills, understand new technologies, and the trainers to teach skills.

Digital literacy levels among students and trainers affect the quality of their learning experience. Students who are not digitally literate will struggle to find jobs after graduation, while trainers will find it difficult to provide quality training.

Digital literacy courses should be designed to help trainers, as well as students, understand how they can use technology effectively in their learning environment.

Plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating

In the Australian VET sector, plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating are some of the most common problems.

Plagiarism affects the reputation of a student and the RTO. It is a problem that can not be taken lightly.

Collusion is when two or more students collaborate on their assignments to gain competency.

Contract cheating is when students change their answers on the assignment sheet after they have handed it in and submitted it.

These three problems are serious and can have huge consequences for students who are caught up in this mess. In order to prevent these from happening, it is important for employers and educators to take strategies into account that will help them avoid these issues before they arise.

The need to update VET qualifications to align with current industry needs

Many VET qualifications are becoming irrelevant in the workforce, as industries are changing and new technologies are being introduced.

Industry needs are changing rapidly, and education providers need to be able to adapt and provide students with relevant skills. The current system is not flexible enough for this, which is why there is a need for updates of the qualifications.

When vocational education and training qualifications are changing it makes it difficult for RTOs and students to keep up to date and a costly exercise to update training and assessment material.

The need to improve access to VET courses for students

There are many barriers that students face when they try to enter a VET education, such as cost, location, and lack of information about available options.

Some students are not given the opportunity to access quality education and training opportunities because they do not meet certain criteria for entry into tertiary education institutions and vocational training programs.


Vocational education and training in Australian schools: Issues for practitioners – Click Here

Current directions in Australia’s vocational education and training system – Click Here

Fortress learning – Click Here

Rethinking Skills in Vocational Education and Training: From Competencies to Capabilities – Click Here

To be implemented by 2030, the government has published a roadmap for a “data-driven society.”

The federal government issued Australia’s first data strategy and associated action plan, outlining a long-term vision for the development of an effective, safe, ethical and secure national data ecosystem.

Stuart Robert, the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, and Jane Hume, the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Digital Economy, jointly announced the release of the Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Strategy.

The strategy is part of a broader promise to provide improved services and to assist Australia in becoming a “modern, data-driven society by 2030,” according to the Australian government.

The Australian Data Strategy signposts the Australian Government’s data intent and efforts over the period to 2025. It focuses on three key themes:

  1. maximising the value of data – describes why data is important, its economic and social value, its use in responding to priority issues, and the benefit that can be gained through using and safely sharing data. Data can create new value when shared between different levels of government, and the private and non-government sectors.
  2. trust and protection – describes the settings that can be adopted in the private and public sectors to keep data safe and secure, and the frameworks available to protect Australians’ data and ensure its ethical use through the entire data lifecycle.
  3. enabling data use – sets out approaches and requirements to leverage the value of data, such as capabilities, legislation, management and integration of data, and engaging internationally.

The document considers both public sector data, which is managed by the government, and data in the broader economy, where the Australian Government both enables data users and regulates its use and sharing to provide greater certainty in how people deal with their data.

The Australian Data Strategy is supported by a living Action Plan which sets out tangible measures the Government is implementing to improve our data settings across the economy. The Action Plan will be regularly reviewed to ensure it evolves to meet the changing priorities of Australians, and continuously raises the bar to meet our goal of being a leading digital economy and society by 2030.

While the Data Strategy and Action Plan do not introduce new regulations or legislation, they align with a range of existing legislation, strategies, policies, and reviews which regulate data. These include the Privacy Act 1988 (and its review, currently underway) and the Freedom of Information Act 1982; the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 (the DAT Bill); the 2015 Public Data Policy Statement; the Digital Economy Strategy; the Cyber Security Strategy; the Productivity Commission’s 2017 Inquiry into Data Availability and Use; the Consumer Data Right; and many others.

The Data Strategy brings together these diverse elements for the first time, setting out current and forward data settings. It signals the Australian Government’s intent to use data to bring tangible benefits to the Australian people and enable data as the lifeblood of our digital economy, including through the Government engaging with the private sector to secure economic and social data for limited approved uses.

For more information, please visit here.

Why is Australia’s rank so low when it comes to innovation?

The ability to innovate is one of the most important factors in economic growth. It increases productivity by making it possible to produce more with the same amount of input or investment as before.

Putting it simply, when productivity increases, more products and services are produced, which results in higher economic growth.

Australia has a long history of innovation and entrepreneurship, but it is ranked below many other countries in terms of innovation performance.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) is a new index that measures the innovation performance of nations in the world. It is published by the United Nations Agency – World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and is an important tool for understanding how countries are performing when it comes to innovation.

Australia ranks at number 25 in the 2021 edition of GII, below countries like China, Japan, Germany, France, Singapore, United Kingdom, Sweden and South Korea in innovation performance. This is because a number of factors, such as:

  • Australia does not have enough funding and support for research and development.
  • There is a lack of skilled workers to create innovative ideas
  • Fewer top-flight academic institutions compared to its rival countries
  • Small population
  • Less emphasis on commercialisation and effective monetisation of innovation in all industries
  • Having a number of structural and cultural barriers
  • Communication gap between the academic, industrial and political sectors

The Australian political system itself stands as the most significant structural barrier to successful innovation, according to a report from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

The three-year political cycle in Australia, as well as subsequent administrations, have a tendency to sabotage rules established by prior governments. Every new political party in power has a strong desire to modify policies, initiatives, and budgets, resulting in inconsistency in the area of innovation.

The seven pillars of the Global Innovation Index (GII) and what they represent

How world economies have fared in innovation in 2021

What factors contributed to Switzerland’s high ranking on the list?

Dynamic innovation systems combined with efficiency to turn innovation ‘inputs’ into innovation ‘outputs’ are found in the economies that have consistently moved up the Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings over the past decade. These economies also exhibit balanced and strong performance across all GII pillars.

This year, only 15 economies were included in the ranking, representing only 11 per cent of all economies.

Switzerland, the leading country, not only provides a fertile basis for invention but also serves as an inspiration for many innovative ideas.

Aside from substantial investment in research and development, Switzerland’s strong position is attributable to the high quality of its people resources and the presence of numerous local universities.

Furthermore, it fared exceptionally well as a result of the country’s stable political system, favourable regulatory framework, and well-developed infrastructure.

What steps can Australia take to overcome these obstacles?

The Australian government has put a lot of emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship in recent years, but they have not been able to produce the desired results. Australia’s innovation performance is an issue that needs to be addressed. It is an issue that will benefit both Australia, as well as other countries around the world.

The Australian government needs to invest more in innovation and education to make sure Australia can be a country that leads the world in innovation performance.

The establishment of an independent and permanent institution to oversee the formulation and implementation of a national plan for science and innovation in Australia is one possible solution to the problem.

This would not only increase communication between sectors, but it would also serve as a point of continuity for long-term planning and funding efforts as well.

The Chinese mainland, on the other hand, is home to 17 of the world’s most important research and technology clusters.

What is the purpose of this evaluation?

The Global Innovation Index’s overall formula for measuring an economy’s innovative capacity and output provides clarity for decision-makers in government, business, and other organisations as they look forwards to developing policies that will enable their people to invent and create more efficiency in the future.

How COVID-19 changed the Australian education and training sector (Part – 1)

The education and training sector in Australia is one of the largest industries in the Australian economy. It employs almost 1.1 million people (8.4 per cent of the total workforce). Approximately half of Australians in the projected secondary school leaving age are enrolled in some form of education or training, whether formal or informal. Much more money is generated by the education and training industry than what goes into it through government funding.

As Coronavirus spread across the globe, it had a major impact on the Australian education and training sector. It has caused a significant change in the way that students learn, educators teach and businesses operate. As a result of this abrupt change away from the classroom in many parts of the world, some are wondering whether the acceptance of online learning would continue to grow post-pandemic, and how such a shift might affect the global education industry. Let’s first understand the main impacts of COVID on the Australian education and training sector.

The main impacts of COVID

This has caused many students to be affected by the virus, which has led to school closures, postponing exams, and other disruptions in the country’s education system.

When social distancing measures were implemented, they had a significant negative impact on apprentices and trainees. The National Centre for Vocational Education Research’s Apprentices and trainees 2020 – March quarter report indicates that apprentice and trainee commencements were down 11% (to 49 015) in the March quarter 2020 when compared to the same quarter in 2019. However, it is too early to determine the true impact of COVID pandemic on apprenticeship and traineeship activities.

A number of reports are released to examine the potential impact of learning from home on the educational outcomes of vulnerable students

Because of social distancing requirements, remote learning is considerably more difficult for vocational education and training students who have practical or workplace components in their course that they are unable to complete.

  1. Limited one-on-one interaction with instructors;
  2. Difficulties determining student engagement levels;
  3. Limited ability to evaluate individual student achievement;
  4. A greater amount of parental and caregiver control is required (particularly for younger children)
  5. Increasing social isolation and diminished capacity to promote student well-being
  6. Help for children with additional needs experienced disruptions in their learning
  7. Differentiated access to technology, including the internet and devices, for the purpose of facilitating learning.
  8. According to research, online learning has been demonstrated to boost retention of information while also taking up less time, indicating that the changes induced by the coronavirus may be here to stay in the future.
  9. Decreased learning capacity for students with chronic illnesses such as asthma or cystic fibrosis.

Also read:

Apprentices and trainers 2020, click here.

Learning at home during COVID-19: effects on vulnerable young Australians: independent rapid response report, click here.

Impact of learning from home on educational outcomes for disadvantaged children: brief assessment, click here.

Coronavirus (COVID‑19) information for schools and students, click here.

Supporting student wellbeing during COVID-19: tips from regional and remote Australia, click here.

COVID-19 and Young People, click here.

Job-ready graduates: higher education reform package 2020, click here.

Skilling Australia for a better future: supporting apprenticeships through COVID-19, click here.

Where next for skills?: how business-led upskilling can reboot Australia, click here.

Workforce-ready: challenges and opportunities for VET, click here.

COVID-19 advice for Registered Training Providers (including TAFEs) and training operations, apprentices and trainees, click here.

Acute skills shortages in VET

Coming out of lockdown and re-opening RTOs have revealed one big problem. The VET sector has huge skills shortages, and there are nearly hundreds of vacant VET positions advertised in SEEK this week across Australia.

There are many factors that have contributed to this shortage, and it did not happen overnight. A big contributor has been the casualisation of the workforce and RTOs pushing for staff to become contractors.

Working as a casual or contractor can be alright for some time, but over a longer period of time, most people want to know that they have ongoing employment where sick leave, annual leave and superannuation will be paid.

Also, there are problems with regards to getting a loan when a person doesn’t have secure employment. The COVID lockdowns meant that many lost their jobs and started looking for other opportunities, and the ones remaining were ill-prepared for the online training environment.

Another problem is the requirements of current industry skills and current VET knowledge. There is nothing wrong with this, but when this is delegated back to the trainers to complete in their own time and without any remuneration, it does become a problem. There is also the constant changes of Cert VI TAE and the training packages.

Many qualified trainers have now gone back to the industry they came from and work under better conditions than the ones the VET sector provides. In the traditional apprenticeship areas, experienced tradespeople are often paid double or more than what they would be paid working as trainers and with no after-hours work marking assessments and no lesson planning. Boomers are also now retiring in huge numbers.

The skills shortage and lack of management-level people who can understand and implement the requirements of a compliant RTO are also at an all-time low. Many have left, tired of the constant changes and updates that have not led to any substantial improvement in the outcomes for students. If anything, they have contributed to lowering the skills level of graduates and added a massive burden on administration.

Have we got any trainers left in the VET sector that can actually teach? I do need to ask the question. When you are faced with statements like, and I quote:

“How can I teach this unit of competency when I don’t have the marking guide for the assessment?”

“We are starting the delivery of training today, and we need the assessment and marking guide for the trainer.”

“I didn’t take the position because all they wanted me to do as a trainer was tell the students the right answers to the questions.”

When did training delivery stop being just that, and when was training reduced to giving the students the answers to the questions? I wonder if some of the trainers currently working in the VET sector could actually complete an assessment themselves without a marking guide and with no access to Mr Google.

How are the students graduating from this type of “training” going to cope in the workplace? No wonder many employers say that it makes no difference if a person comes with or without a VET qualification because they need to be trained from basics anyway.

Contract cheating – One out of every ten students submits assignments written by someone else – and the vast majority of them get away with it.

Despite popular belief, contract cheating is more prevalent in Australian institutions than many would expect. According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Western Australia, one in every ten students across Australia’s institutions is guilty of paying someone to create assignments or take online examinations on their behalf.

Contract cheating is a form of academic dishonesty that occurs in educational institutes. It is an unethical and illegal practice that may occur when students are offered incentives for providing their own answers to exam questions or for giving other students their answers.

The most serious form of cheating is also the most difficult to detect, and it is occurring at a higher rate than previously assumed. It was estimated that between 2-4 per cent of Australian institution students submitted projects that had been authored by someone else. According to recent research, the true figure is closer to 8-11 per cent. Furthermore, almost 95% of students who engage in this type of cheating do not get caught.

Using essays and reports to exhibit learning, assignments allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the material. If the assignment is written by someone else, it is possible that a student will graduate without knowing something that they are meant to know. Contract cheating is the term used to describe when students arrange for someone else to do an assignment on their behalf. Numerous students were involved in contract cheating cases that made headlines, such as the MyMaster affair, which involved thousands of students.

Even at the most affected institutions, however, this represented less than 0.2 per cent of all students. According to polls, at least ten times as many students (2-4 per cent) admit to engaging in contract cheating.

The reason why contract cheating happens in educational institutes is because of the lack of transparency and trust between the institution and its students. The lack of trust between the two parties leads to a lack of respect for each other’s rights and responsibilities.

Contract cheating is not just limited to universities but it can also happen in the vocational education and training sector and even secondary schools.

The main reasons for this are the following:

  • Financial pressures on the students.
  • The easy way out for the students.
  • Students are not aware of their rights and responsibilities as a student.
  • Students believe cheating is okay as there are no or very few repercussions.
  • Students lack good morals or are good at gaming the system.
  • Students might be afraid of failing or not being able to finish their degree due to a lack of time or resources.
  • Students may not be taught how to create quality work
  • Students may lack motivation and don’t want to spend time on a project because they are too busy with other activities
  • Students may have been taught that plagiarism is wrong, but contract cheating seems like a way around this
  • Students feel pressured to do well because of the high-stakes nature of the exams.
  • Lack of clarity around what is expected, which leads to uncertainty and stress.
  • The system has not been designed to cater for students with special needs or those who require more time to complete.

This often happens when students are unaware of the severity of contract cheating and how it can affect their future opportunities in education and training.

One article by ‘Times Higher Education’ states approximately “5% of all students surveyed said they had previously paid someone else to do their work” which shows that there are many who resort to contract cheating since studying takes up most or all of their lives, leaving little room for other sources of income which could lead these individuals into debt.

Another article on ‘Times Higher Education’ mentions that without a source of income and having to study full time, one may choose not to submit their own work since they may feel like they lack the time or capacity to complete assignments. The same article also talks about how some universities have strict rules against plagiarism which makes it difficult for students who are so used to doing this when faced with an essay question. They mention how “some students described being in exam situations when the script contained quotes from several different sources”, so contract cheating could provide them with enough space in their essays to quote various sources, while still getting good grades.

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