VET student loans: more opportunities for men


The VET Student Loans scheme shows a funding bias towards male occupations and includes a raft of courses not offered by any registered training organisations

I learnt these startling facts from work commissioned by Niche Education Group, a highly-respected RTO in the beauty and dermal therapies industry offering a range of accredited courses to meet the skill needs of their industry. Their students cannot access a VSL loan for these courses – because Niche is a private provider.

Managing Director, April Jorgensen, hired a data analyst to look at the VSL scheme. That analysis is still underway but I am pleased to share some of the initial findings.

Looking at Band Three courses (those which receive the largest loans):

* nearly 30 per cent of courses are not offered by any RTOs (VSL approved or not).

* nearly 60 per cent are offered by two or fewer RTOs (VSL approved or not).

* almost two-thirds of all Band Three courses lead to work in male-dominated industries.

* courses aligned to female-dominated industries make up less than 5 per cent of those funded at Band Three.

* the median number of units in a Band Three diploma is 14, whereas it is 17 units for Band Two diplomas.

* some Band Two diplomas comprise 25 units and require extensive equipment and facilities to meet Training Package requirements (for example) the Diploma of Beauty Therapy.

While there is more analysis to be done, initial results indicate the scheme discriminates against women and is not delivering the expected employment outcomes.

 Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education


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