Fee increases needed to keep number of VET positions high

GETTING a qualification in regional NSW could cost up to $1500 more from next year under the State Government's proposed new vocational education training model.

In its draft report on the 2014 Smart and Skilled program, the Independent Pricing Regulatory Tribunal recommended that without fee increases of up to 40%, the number of VET positions available in the state would have to be drastically reduced.

While a small number of struggling students will see a decrease in costs, more than 85% of students doing a Certificate II or Certificate III qualification face an increase of more than $500.

Aspiring mechanics will be among the 37% of students hit with an increase of about $1500 for a two-year qualification.

A loading fee of between 10 and 20% will apply to enrolments in Northern NSW to "reflect the additional cost associated with providing training" in regional areas.

IPART Chairman Peter Boxall said he expected stakeholders would be concerned by the recommendations but warned that without the proposed increases, IPART believed the NSW Government would slash VET places by about 61,000.

"Prices and fees need to take account of the different costs in providing certain qualifications, whether a student is undertaking their first post-school qualification, is an apprentice or trainee, or is entitled to a concession or exemption," Mr Boxall said

"Our approach is to set base rices according to efficient costs of providing a qualification that meets the required quality standards."

Submissions are now being sought from the VET sector, students and employers before IPART finalises its recommendations later this year.

A copy of the draft is available http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au

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