A just-released report from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER), entitled VET Provider Market Structures: History, Growth and Change, provides up-to-date numbers on why community education still matters to Australian vocational education.
CCA summarises this report in our website “Comment” section, including three data tables.
During 2014, the community VET sector had 190,604 students, of the total student numbers of 4,008,489 (4.7%). The private (for-profit) sector had the largest number of students – 2,095,171 (52%) – with TAFE second with 1,115,865 (28%). The community sector had approximately the same number of students as the schools and the associations sectors, and more than double the number of the enterprises sector. (See Table 1 in our “Comment”.)
Of the 497 community-based RTOs operating in 2014, 91% delivered to 1,000 students or less – indicating personal attention and locally-serving focus. While community providers are represented across all geographic categories, they play a particularly important role in regional areas, especially “inner regional”. While TAFE and the schools sector are important players in regional areas, the private for-profit, associations and enterprises sectors remain predominantly based in the capital cities. This underlines the importance of the community sector to regional and rural Australia.
“Despite many years of policy neglect by Commonwealth and state governments, the community education sector remains vital and active,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of CCA.
“Our sector’s ability to survive through successive massive policy and regulation changes – as well as increasing competition by private providers who may ‘pick off’ the easiest-to-serve students – means that community education must be taken seriously as an important complement to public and private provision. We expect a policy framework where the community sector is encouraged to thrive,” Dr Perlgut said.