Funding PTEs will only generate competition across our VET sector.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union (TEU) was disappointed by last month’s announcement that the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has awarded $13m in ‘strategic’ funding to Private Training Establishments (PTEs) throughout the vocational education and training sector.

Te Pou Ahurei | National Secretary Sandra Grey says “although we recognise that the Unified Funding System (UFS) is designed so that Te Pūkenga and PTEs are not competing for Strategic Funding per se, it is highly problematic that the UFS allows for such large amounts of public funding to support private interests in the first place. This is particularly the case when our new national provider, Te Pūkenga, is currently being forced to cut spending by $63m.”

“Upon reviewing the list of 69 successful grants, it is clear that using public funding in this way cannot be considered ‘strategic’ within the context of the new network of vocational education and training. For example, Yoobee Colleges Ltd. has received $370,833 to develop a Diploma in Enrolled Nursing (Level 5). Yet, given Te Pūkenga already offers a number of diploma-level nursing qualifications (including in the Auckland region), the development of the Diploma in Enrolled Nursing will inevitably lead to Yoobee and Te Pūkenga competing to secure student enrolments, thereby perpetuating one of the many problems that the Reforms of Vocational Education (RoVE) set out to resolve: competition across the sector.”

“We think there is scope for PTEs to operate strategically within the context of our vocational education sector as providers where training in niche areas is required. However, TEC’s use of the PTE Strategic Fund does not align with this strategy and, indeed, goes against the original intentions of RoVE.”

TEU has requested a meeting with Minister of Education Jan Tinetti to address these issues.