ASQA's New Stakeholder Liaison Group

Date —

7 July 2020

Industry Sector/s —
Vocational Education & Training

Summary —

As part of a series of measures to respond to criticism that it was disengaged, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has appointed members to its new Stakeholder Liaison Group. Charged with strengthening links between Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and the regulator, the formation of the group is welcomed by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), although questions remain as to its place alongside existing consultative mechanisms.

Key Issues —

A recent review of ASQA highlighted that currently there is a significant trust deficit between the regulator, peak bodies and some regulated entities. The reasons for this are multifaceted and influenced by recent history, including some significant policy and regulatory failures. ASQA has acknowledging this history committing to moving forward and it was in that context that the regulatory established the ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group.

The formation of the ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group is important given the high levels of disquiet, as noted in the Joyce Review into the vocational education and training sector, that independent RTOs have about the way ASQA currently conducts its regulatory activity. This report concluded that although there always some tension to be expected between the regulator and the regulated, the levels of concern with ASQA's work went beyond what could be reasonably expected.

The purpose of the ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group is to engage and consult with providers and other key stakeholders on ASQA’s approach to engagement and education, and to identify and respond to key issues facing providers. The membership reflects a diverse range of professionals from both independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and public TAFE colleges.

...........ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group Membership — 

◾ Kerri Buttery — VETNexus Pty Ltd
◾ Andrew Cameron — St Mark’s National Theological Centre
◾ Margie Fixter — TAFE SA
◾ Julie Healy — TAFE Queensland
◾ Jo Kwai — Shafston House College Pty Ltd
◾ Linda Manning — Karen Sheldon Group Pty Ltd
◾ Serryn O’Regan — Evolve College Pty Ltd
◾ Karen Plowman — McDonald’s Australia Ltd
◾ Christine Robertson — Open Colleges Pty Ltd
◾ Belinda Russon — Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education and Training
◾ Alex Schroder — VETPrep Australia Pty Ltd
◾ Cara Schultz — NSW Rural Fire Service
◾ Andrew Shea — Builders Academy of Australia
◾ Michelle Simpson — Tamworth Community College
◾ Matthew Trott — Training Services Australia Pty Ltd
◾ Sue Watts — Catholic Schools Office Lismore Diocese
◾ Simon Wiggins — Avidity Training Pty Ltd

In selecting the mix of providers from across these cohorts, ASQA took into account factors relating to the nature of training delivery, including scale, modes, locations, diversity of student populations, and provider performance.

"It is pleasing to see so many ITECA members selected to be a part of the ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group, something that ensures that independent RTOs will play a meaningful role in the task of ASQA become a more effective, engaged and supportive regulator," said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

The ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group will meet up to six times per year, but what isn't clear is how will it fit alongside the regulator's existing engagement infrastructure such as the ASQA Provider Roundtable which comprises ITECA, TAFE Directors Australia and assorted other representative groups. 

Member Engagement —

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Committee.  ITECA Membership - it's a great time to get involved.

Further Information —

For more information on this issue please send an email to vocational.education@iteca.edu.au or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.


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