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Last week, I was delivering a session about advanced assessment techniques and while addressing different evidence collection methods, a participant asked me: "do we get extra points during a regulatory audit if we perform better than the minimum requirement? If not, why are you suggesting we go the extra mile, while other RTOs pass an audit doing the minimum?" As the conversation had quickly shifted from quality to compliance, my response was "how many quality RTOs did ASQA close during the last two years?" The answer was "... none".

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The new VET Student Loans Program, recently announced to replace the VET-FEE-HELP, shows a perception that is hurting the VET sector: training is a cost.

The debate around funding training and education is focused on cost. The actions taken by the government demonstrate that VET is considered as a cost and not as an investment. The rhetorical political speech talks about connecting training with industry needs, including statements such as: "Restoring Integrity to Vocational Education" or "... a win-win for students and taxpayers".

It is not clear how the VET Student Loans Program will ensure a return on investment (ROI) for taxpayers, and seems to be more about controlling expenditures, and not focused on producing an ROI.

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