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Education Training, General News

Government Funded Students In Skills Training Still Lower Than Two Years Ago

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia 2 mins read

The number of government-funded skills training students grew in the first half of this year, but remains lower than the comparable period last year, according to an assessment of government data undertaken by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers.

Data released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that for the first half of 2023, there were a total of 911,180 government-funded students enrolled in skills training. This marks a 4.0% increase compared to the same period in 2022; however, this figure is 2.8% lower than the student count for the same period in 2021.

“Across the nation, there are some 1,300 independent RTOs that are able to support students with government funding. These RTOs deliver great outcomes for students, employers and taxpayers, making the latest NCVER data release significant,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

While the number of government-funded students at TAFE colleges in the first half of 2023 increased by 1.8% compared to 2022, it declined by a significant 5.3% when compared to the same period in 2021.

“Despite the overall number of students in government funded skills training remaining lower compared to 2021, the number of government-funded students at independent RTOs in the first half of 2023 showed impressive growth, which is hardly surprising given the reputation of ITECA members for quality,” Mr Williams said.

There was a 7% increase in government-funded students with independent RTOs in the first half of this year compared to the comparable period in 2022 and a 1.1% increase compared to 2021. This surge indicates a growing preference among students for independent RTOs.

“Comparing the data to the reference period for 2021, there has been an overall reduction in funded students in the skills training system, despite the increase in independent RTOs. This suggests a shift in student preferences and choices regarding skills training,” Mr Williams said.

Among the states and territories, Victoria witnessed the most substantial reduction in government-funded TAFE students since 2021, with nearly 15,000 fewer students. The reasons behind this decline warrant further investigation.

“Data released earlier this year reveals that private RTOs consistently deliver superior outcomes for students and taxpayers. This is also reflected in NCVER data regarding student satisfaction,” Mr Williams said.

According to ITECA, the latest data shows why the Australian Government needs to rethink its strategy when it comes to government skills funding.

“Currently, there is a significant push by government put 'TAFE at the heart' of the skills training system, which the latest data suggests many employers and students are pushing back against. Instead, ITECA firmly believes in putting students at the heart of the system, where the government backs their freedom to choose their preferred training provider,” Mr Williams concluded.

Ends.


Key Facts:

For the first half of 2023, there were a total of 911,180 government-funded students enrolled in skills training.

This marks a 4.0% increase compared to the same period in 2022; however, this figure is 2.8% lower than the student count for the same period in 2021.

 


About us:

ITECA Introduction:  Forrmed in 1992, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) is the peak body representing independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers.


Contact details:

Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive
e: troy.williams@iteca.edu.au
m: 0400 599 934

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