Saturday, 26 September 2015

A serious investigation needed into private vocational training

From the ABC news online

One of Australia's largest providers of private vocational training, Evocca College, is facing a potential class action from hundreds of former students.

Solicitor Benjamin Kramer is preparing to file documents on behalf of former Evocca College students.

He will allege the private company breached Australian consumer law by providing sub-standard courses and using unfair marketing tactics to sign students up.

"I've been blown away by how many people have been forthcoming with their own experiences and their own claims of how they've felt they've been wronged by the school," Mr Kramer said.

Evocca largely offers diploma courses in business, information technology, community services and travel, tourism and events.

Its average student loan in 2013 was $16,878.

Its business model depends on the VET FEE-HELP funding system, where private training providers receive government funding and students incur a HECS style debt that they are not forced to repay until they earn more than $53,000.

Figures released to a Senate Committee last month show just 32.9 per cent of Evocca College students graduated between 2011 and 2014.

Mr White said that the completion rate is almost 9 percentage points higher than the industry average, and the vast majority of its students are satisfied with their course. (9% completion rate is considered good!)

Earlier this year the ABC revealed allegations from former Evocca staff and students about unethical practices and low graduation rates.

Two weeks later the federal government announced regulatory changes to the vocational training sector, including banning incentives to students like free laptops and tablets.( I wonder if our new minister will investigate further into the private training sector? I won't hold my breathe! Meanwhile TAFE is still struggling.)

A boy sits reading a book from a bombed out book shop during the blitz.( Hopefully he wasn't shot for looting)

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