"The Discussion paper canvasses a number of options for change to protect students, regulate providers and manage the system. There is a frank admission that the system is not working and that it needs a complete redesign ready for implementation at the start of 2017. Ai Group welcomes these positive steps to fix the scheme and re-establish the confidence of all parties in this key ingredient of the VET system.
"It is fundamentally important that students in the VET system have access to loan fee help to assist them in the same way as the scheme in higher education. The VET FEE-HELP scheme needs to be urgently over-hauled to achieve this. We welcome this positive step by the Government on the road to achieving a fair and equitable scheme for participating VET students," Mr Willox said.
"The scheme commenced in 2009 to provide income contingent loans to students studying higher level VET qualifications and has been beset with difficulties. From 2012, when the state and territory training markets were opened up for greater competition, serious weaknesses in this scheme were created and it was exposed to abuse and exploitation by unethical training providers leading to unsustainable levels of growth.
"The Government introduced a set of reforms early this year to curb the greatest excesses but it has become clear that the scheme is unsustainable in its current form.
"A period of consultation will occur including the opportunity to respond to the Discussion Paper by 30 June 2016. This will form the basis of a redesigned scheme to start next year," Mr Willox said.
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