Sharkie welcomes student VET reform

17 Jul 2020

Government reforms to VET-FEE HELP will protect thousands of students in Mayo who seek post-high school vocational training every year, Local MP Rebekha Sharkie says.

“It is pleasing to hear that the Federal Government has finally announced a crackdown on the providers who were rorting the current system. This problem has existed for far too long,” she said.

According to the last census, there were almost 3000 VET Students in Mayo.

Ms Sharkie said that number would have increased significantly in recent years, in line with the national trend, putting many young people at risk of being exploited by unscrupulous providers.

“Given the importance of vocational education as an alternative to university, particularly in my electorate, it was very distressing to hear the stories of providers in other regions offering students laptops and signing them up for courses that they could not complete. I am happy this will be stamped out,” she said.

Ms Sharkie echoed the concerns raised by TAFE Directors Australia which stated that system rorting would continue unless a proper regulator was put in place.

She believed scrupulous private registered training organisations in her region also supported a clean-up of the current system.

“We’ve seen how hard it is for this program to be regulated already,” she said.

“I hope that the Government recognises that this would be a monumental task for the education department to administer this scheme.

“We need to make sure that these shonky providers are stamped out of the marketplace.”

Ms Sharkie said she was concerned about the outstanding debts owed by students who had been misled by unscrupulous providers.

“Minister Birmingham would not confirm that students who had been duped into signing up for VET-FEE HELP would have their debts waved,” she said.

“These are students who had no idea what they were signing up for, who were misled and, in many cases, are the most at-risk members of our community.

“Young people with outstanding debts that they cannot repay are at risk of getting a poor credit rating, which can mean that they can’t borrow money in the future.

“These are people that are going to struggle with getting a loan, buying a car, even buying a mobile phone. We have to make sure they are protected.

“The Minister needs to confirm that those individuals who are left with debts from shoddy providers will have those debts waived.”

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