Vocational Education Providers Continue To Be The Backbone Of The Australian Economy
A recent report from the ABC South East painted a bleak picture of vocational education and training on the NSW South Coast, particularly shaming Batemans Bay. As with all media reports there is a modicum of truth and also potential to damage completely innocent parties. South Coast Careers College is an approved provider under the Department of Industry Smart and Skilled program. The Chief Executive Officer of South Coast Careers College, Sarah Watterson, explains “Lifelong learning is essential not only for individuals but also community development and wellbeing. Vocational education and training is the backbone of the Australian economy and, by virtue, has to have direct links to employment opportunities. Making our program offerings relevant to the local communities we service is essential.” "The aim of Smart and Skilled is to provide funding to students to make vocational education and training accessible and affordable. "The program's intent was for all Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) to be bound by the same contractual conditions and student fee structure so that students can choose education based purely on quality. Many RTO’s, ourselves included, operate solely within the conditions of the contract – mandated student fees, fully qualified teaching staff and a focus on student experience and relevance of qualification to the local economy. “South Coast Careers College goes to great lengths to ensure that investment of government funding gains the best return. All courses are delivered face-to-face in a classroom, the programs are linked to local employment opportunities and work placement is secured for all participants. Resources and equipment are provided and all students get access to additional support throughout their learning experience. "Our model of only delivering qualification courses in a face-to-face classroom environment doesn’t make us exceptionally competitive in the market place, however, unlike online learning where completion rates are below 15% our completion rates are in excess of 85%. Training has to be about the student experience and ensuring the best possible outcome for the individual – completing the course is the best outcome.” "There are a number of Smart and Skilled providers with contracts to deliver training in and around Batemans Bay who do not have training facilities or offices here. On the face of the recent report it would be logical to believe that local providers are responsible for the reported rorting. However, the likelihood is that’s not necessarily the case. "The Department of Industry are aware of the issues and have been working tirelessly to cancel contracts with RTO’s who do not meet the contractual requirements and are damaging what is, for most, a very successful funding program. "South Coast Careers College is proud to be a Smart and Skilled provider and will continue to perform within the confines of the contractual obligations, but more importantly continue to deliver training ethically which meets the needs of the student, the economy and the tax payer dollar.