30 May 2013

Industry Training in terminal decline


Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses for the live production industry are winding up, with declining government support and almost no protest from the performing arts community.

Led by the Victorian Government, TAFE courses for ‘creative’ industries are rapidly becoming up to 400% more expensive as subsidies are scaled back. This has fueled the cancellation of Certificate IV and Diploma courses around Australia as demand collapses.

Now Swinburne University of Technology will discontinue technical courses in 2014, with costume and makeup courses rolling into the Film and TV campus.

As if that isn’t depressing enough, Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Entertainment Technical Event Training College (ETETC) in Brisbane report that government funding in Queensland under the Userchoice contract is being slashed to 50% due to our industry not being listed as a Priority One on the entitlements paper. This means that any school based trainee who has their heart set on working in our industry will have to come up with the money to fund the other half.  It also means that businesses and employers will be less likely to employ a trainee if they have any added costs above what they receive as an incentive.

Representatives from across the industry spent last year in working groups to define the forthcoming replacement for the Entertainment Training Package CUE03, which is still the foundation for all vocational training across Australia. After signing off on the new package, the skills council for the industry known as Innovation & Business Skills Australia (IBSA) announced a six month implementation delay caused by ‘packaging rules changes’ and then quietly commissioned a Discussion Paper that will abolish the package outright, rolling it into a broader ‘generic’ cultural industry training package.

The paper reveals that Entertainment enrolments under CUE03 barely reached 4,000 in 2011, the vast majority being in School VET courses. By way of comparison, the Screen and Media category had well over 10,000 enrolments.

“Enrolments data are significant as they inform government funding decisions, particularly in relation to provision of public funding.  This in turn further shapes learner demand and influences provider offerings.  Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are less likely to seek registration for qualifications which have low demand and offer a thin market for RTOs.  This creates a vicious circle with enrolments dropping further as access for enterprises and learners to the qualifications and skill sets continues to reduce”, the paper argues.

CX understands the paper was narrowly distributed to peak industry bodies, and not shared with the members of working groups who contributed to and endorsed the now possibly dead replacement package, known as CUA.

Apathy towards accredited technical training in live production, theatre and events led to the cancellation of the national seminar tour session on Training within CX Roadshow in February 2012. The seminars attracted virtually no interest, while other seminars on a wide range of topics typically sell very strongly.


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