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Education and Employment References Committee
16/07/2015
Private vocational education and training providers

CORNWELL, Ms Andrea Peta, General Manager, Governance and External Relations, Australian Institute of Professional Education

KHANCHE, Mr Amjad Hamid, Chief Executive, Australian Institute of Professional Education

Committee met at 09:07

ACTING CHAIR ( Senator McKenzie ): Welcome. The Senate Education and Employment References Committee will now commence its inquiry into the operation, regulation and funding of private vocational education training providers in Australia. Information on parliamentary privilege and the protection of witnesses and evidence has been provided to you. The committee has received your submission, and I now invite you both to make a short opening statement and at the conclusion of your remarks I will invite members of the committee to put questions to you.

Mr Khanche : Thank you for the invitation for Andrea and I to attend this hearing. I want to start by saying how pleased I am that the Senate is focused on the operation, regulation and funding of VET providers. I am, however, very concerned that only privately-owned providers have been singled out in this inquiry. There is ample evidence showing that relative to the schools and higher education sectors there has been very limited funding for the vocational education and training sector in the past decade. This is despite the significant and growing need for a highly skilled workforce for the Australian economy, particularly as we are going through such an important transition from a manufacturing based to a services based economy.

It seems to me that a focus on the operation, regulation and funding of the VET sector as a whole would have been more appropriate for the committee. Sadly, I understand that the behaviour of a number of bad apples in the VET sector continues to plague the reputation of all VET providers. I am deeply disappointed that the behaviour of those providers compromises the standing of providers like AIPE, which is committed to offering our students the very best VET and higher education. For me, that reputational damage is also deeply personal. Unlike large public institutions built by governments, I have built my business myself. Like many, Australians I am a migrant too. I arrived here 16 years ago on a one-way plane ticket, with less than $300 in my wallet and a determination to make a better life for myself and subsequently for my family.

I started AIP in 2007 as a high quality VET provider in the allied health and business management field just as the international education sector entered a period of extreme crisis. What I thought would be a straightforward proposition to educate students for work as paraprofessionals and in business administration became an all-consuming battle to stay afloat. I am proud of the fact that AIPE did just that and did it quite well. My staff and I have learned some valuable lessons along the way. We are now a private higher education VET and ELICOS provider, educating students from more than 72 different countries and with domestic students making up more than 60 per cent of our overall student cohort of more than 6,000 current students. We have won many industry and peer recognition awards, as we have detailed in our submission, and we have a strong track record of quality and compliance. In the industry, we are known for delivery of quality education for both domestic and international students.

Red tape and overregulation remain a significant problem for good quality providers like AIPE. It distracts us from our core purpose, which is the quality of education we provide our students and the job outcomes they achieve as a result. As our submission shows, we are subject to more than 25 different legislative and regulatory instruments, and that list does not include the additional changes made to the tightened regulation of all VET FEE-HELP providers in the government's recently announced reforms. While AIPE recognises and supports the need for regulation of the tertiary education sector, effective regulation should be targeted and enforced. The sheer weight of red tape on good VET providers must be lifted or we run the risk that the sector will be spending more time on administration than on education. The AIPE made its submission to your inquiry to balance the ledger in terms of challenging the myths and perceptions about private providers. I welcome your questions about AIPE and our students. Thank you.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you very much, Mr Khanche.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you to the institute for your appearance today. I am wondering if I could just ask a few technical questions about the way in which the institute is structured and some of the matters that go to your costing arrangements. Could you tell me what it is that you charge for a diploma of marketing.

Mr Khanche : We extensively involve with industry for consultation on our courses. Our infrastructure is almost second to none. We have various consultations in and around developing our programs. The technology that we use is way ahead of industry—and I am happy for you to have a look at it—and that puts our charges for our diploma courses at typically between $15,000 and $20,000 for a 12-month program.

Senator KIM CARR: Do you think it would be helpful if students could actually see what the charges were? They are not listed on your website, are they?

Mr Khanche : They are listed on the website. They are clearly listed on every course flyer that goes out to students before the enrolment process.

Senator KIM CARR: Are they on the website?

Mr Khanche : Yes, that is correct. It is a mandatory condition with the providers. It is on the website.

Senator KIM CARR: How do you think your costs compare to other providers?

Mr Khanche : Our costs are in line with most in the industry. We do cost benchmarking at the end of every financial year, so it is pretty much in line with most quality education providers. It is in line with quality providers such as Navitas and various other private institutions that we benchmark ourselves against. So I do not see any problems with the pricing side of things. In fact, we have a lot of quality trainers and lecturers working with us. It is just that the cost of operations in Sydney or a city based campus, which is a fairly large campus on Sussex Street, is expensive to run.

Senator KIM CARR: It is not an argument against high quality. I am interested to know the argument that you put as to why you charge what you charge. TAFE New South Wales lists their diploma of marketing at $2,820 on their website. There is a very substantial gap there. Are you able to comment on why that gap would be so significantly different—so large?

Mr Khanche : Whether you travel in a Toyota or you travel in a Mercedes, the objective is the same: you are getting from point A to point B. How you get there is what matters. With the quality that goes into a high-end brand there is of course safety and there is everything else that goes into the engineering of that particular product. It is exactly the philosophy that we apply. When we charge there are lots of elements that are going into students' education. When I started online, for example, our programs were awarded across various education and training products. It is that level of investment. It was almost close to $1.6 million of investment before we even enrolled the first student. So there is a high concentration of that return on the investment that needs to come at some point, and it probably reflects that. We have never requested any public funding for our courses.

Senator KIM CARR: It is about six times more. So you are saying essentially that it is a quality question.

Mr Khanche : Of course it is. Quality and also extensive students support services. With my student support services, the staff-to-student ratio is almost one to five. Do you think it is what it is in the public sector? If you do, I would question that. For most of the students, especially in the online side of things or on campus, the kinds of support services that are required are completely different in nature. What we as a private or small boutique institution provide is completely different to what people get in a bigger, larger institution. I have been a university student. I used to sit with 300 students in a hall, attending a lecture. I have restrictions of no more than 30 to 35 students in a class.

Senator KIM CARR: I notice you that give some emphasis to the academic structure. How do you separate out the commercial considerations from the academic ones in the way in which the business is operated?

Mr Khanche : When we formed our academic board, which was in 2012, I took a step back in any academic matters. I probably sit in those meetings as an observer. I do not make any academic decisions in my company. The governance is very separate to the commercial side. I take care of marketing. I take care of hiring. I take care of making sure that the operations are okay. But none of the academic decisions of my company are made by me.

Senator KIM CARR: You mention the question of support for VET FEE-HELP. I take it your company attracts VET FEE-HELP.

Mr Khanche : Yes, we do. We do Fee-for-Service. We do VET FEE-HELP. We do international students. We do higher education students. We do English language students. I am talking about us having close to a 6,000 student capacity.

Senator KIM CARR: Would you regard that as a form of public subsidy?

Mr Khanche : I do not understand the question necessarily, but we have never really gone after any public subsidy as such.

Senator KIM CARR: But VET FEE-HELP provides concessional loans.

Mr Khanche : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Since its introduction, we have seen the course cost rise substantially by some providers. Are your fees set to the maximum limit under VET FEE-HELP criteria?

Mr Khanche : No. They are nowhere near the maximum limit. If you are supporting a student for over a period of 12 months or sometimes students extend those programs from 12 to 18 months, that is about $1,500 to $1,600 a month for a private institution to run a facility, a campus, in the middle of the Sydney city. I do not see these prices as being anywhere near unreasonable. They reflect what we offer our students.

Senator KIM CARR: In a section of your submission that deals with VET FEE-HELP, you acknowledge the actions of unscrupulous providers. I think in your verbal submission today you spoke of rotten apples. You said that the actions of unscrupulous brokers were damaging the system and that the administration of a VET FEE-HELP program is overly complex. If that is the case, how do you account for the fact that there has been such a proliferation of these particular brokers?

Mr Khanche : I have worked in the industry for over 16 years now and I have worked in various very large institutions—public institutions, universities—and this has been one of those things in universities as well. We work with several international universities and at some point we got ESOS regulation kicked in and that was one of the best things that happened to the industry at the time. We have been one of the very firm advocates for the ACPET code of ethics for agents, which has just been released and implemented. That is why I have made it very clear in my submission that it is important that we regulate brokerage or agency businesses in the industry. They have various ways of stimulating the market, which not necessarily every provider will have, which works in the best interests of everybody. The problem is that a lot of the time these agencies—we are an experienced provider now compared to most other young providers—and that is the mention that we have made in the submission: that it is important that there is a regulatory framework. We were excited when ASQA started talking about taking them under ASQA regulation, but that did not go through for whatever reason. We strongly believe and are a very big advocate that the agency businesses must be regulated and be identified as part of an extension of this program.

Senator KIM CARR: It is just that in your submission you are actually arguing for less regulation.

Mr Khanche : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Now you are saying to us that there should be more regulation. Which one is it?

Mr Khanche : We are talking about appropriate regulation for providers. I am talking about regulating agency businesses as a separate thing.

Senator KIM CARR: Let me just be clear to give you the opportunity to put your case. As a quality, ethical provider, what recommendations would you make to parliament as to what actions can be taken to curb the actions of the bad apples and to eradicate the unscrupulous providers?

Mr Khanche : I have made it very clear in my submission. The decision should be a positive for students, and a positive for students can be created in several different ways. With me sitting in Sydney, I cannot have access to several regional markets of Australia. A lot of the time specific agency businesses do a good job. They do a very good job in stimulating this market and telling them what is available for them and educating most of Australia. That is what we have seen in the last few years.

My recommendations would be around similar things. I think it is important that certificate IV-level courses come on VET FEE-HELP. It is important that the agency businesses get regulated, that they are under an ASQA or similar regulatory environment, that they understand that it is a serious business—it is not playing with anybody's life—and that every recommendation they make to a particular college has clear merits for education purposes and that nothing else should make that decision. It has taken a long time for that to happen in the international education industry. I think we are on the cusp of it and we really need to hammer that point really strongly—that the agency businesses must be regulated in Australia.

Senator KIM CARR: I am sorry if I am sounding confused, because I am. In your submission you say there should be less regulation.

Mr Khanche : Yes, less regulation.

Senator KIM CARR: So how are the two points of view reconciled?

Mr Khanche : Less regulation for providers. We strongly support the reforms that the minister's office has announced. I think that is a welcome change for the industry and that this will probably save the industry in the short term. The fact that we are not accepting that the agencies are here to stay in some way or another is a fallacy. That is not going to happen. It did not happen in international education despite IDP and services like that that were established by Group of Eight universities and so on.

I have 72 different nationalities, as of today's data, on my present record, from various parts of the world. I have achieved that because of working with some good agencies, which we have selected through a really intensive process from ICEF and established forums. Similarly, I think it is about time that we accept this part of the business—that marketing is a specialist job—and that these agencies are here to stay. So I am talking about the regulation for the other side of the business, which is absolutely unregulated at the moment.

And the providers? Every day I am talking about 25 different legislative instruments that we work with. In addition to that, there are so many more—almost on a daily basis. There are some that are going to be announced on 1 July. I am a dual sector provider. We do higher education and vocational. With the current announcements, we have to run three different styles of enrolment processes. There are burdens after burdens after burdens on the administration side of education businesses. What I am trying to say is that providers have done enough. They need to do continuous improvement. We understand that. But if we are happy to accept that the agencies are here to stay, let us regulate the agency businesses in Australia. So that is a separate beast.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you very much.

Senator SINODINOS: On this issue of regulation and deregulation, in the context of your business, you are saying that in administering your program there is a lot of administrative complexity. Is that right? Is this in terms of the number of forms you have to fill in? What form does this administrative complexity take from your point of view?

Mr Khanche : There is a lot of administrative complexity because of the nature of the way the charge system works—for example, particularly VET FEE-HELP. We do not necessarily have any access to public funding in terms of courses or other things—or we have never really tried for that. But, as far as I am concerned, just with the VET FEE-HELP and FEE-HELP reporting, I have about four, 4½ full-time staff just managing that process on a daily basis—the charges, the reverse charges. Now, going forward, with the four census date periods that have been announced from 1 January, what we have to—

Senator SINODINOS: The what?

Mr Khanche : From 1 January, mandatory four census dates have been announced. We run on a semester format. Having two census dates is what is the normal industry fashion. With four census dates, the number of times students are going to be charged and reversed is going to be incredible. What I would like to highlight is that it is going to be a serious administrative burden on not only the providers, but also the department of education. The administration that is going to kick in is going to be serious. This needs to be taken into consideration, given the government's promise of reducing red tape across the board. I think that should still be on the table when it comes to these sorts of issues.

Senator SINODINOS: In your submission you referred positively to your experience with TEQSA, I think it was—

Mr Khanche : That is correct.

Senator SINODINOS: and how they interacted with you in terms of regulation. You talk there about how they had more of a case management approach.

Mr Khanche : Absolutely.

Senator SINODINOS: Are you suggesting that it would be desirable, if the resources were there, to extend that case management approach to regulation under ASQA and the department of education?

Mr Khanche : I personally think the case management style works very, very well. Once you have a case manager for a certain number of providers, there is always a better understanding between the provider, and, because we have a case manager sitting on top of us all the time, there is a serious fear of God in business as well. So it is important—that case manager approach. We have worked with TEQSA for almost three years now. Of course, people change and case managers leave, like any other job. But because they create such history and provide for us, with the institution or with the department, it becomes easier for somebody who is coming in new to understand the operations or businesses across the board. They can clearly identify which are good businesses and where we need to keep an eye.

Senator SINODINOS: So, from one point of view, it could be like an early warning system of problems if you have a case manager?

Mr Khanche : Absolutely. In the current system, only when you hear a problem do you go there and audit them. I think ASQA should be provided with more resources to have a case management approach.

Senator SINODINOS: In relation to that VET FEE-HELP, that is not a subsidy to you; that is a subsidy to the students.

Mr Khanche : Yes.

Senator SINODINOS: And the theory is that it should be available to any student willing to undertake—

Mr Khanche : Further education.

Senator SINODINOS: the approved courses, whatever the nature of the institution. But, in that context, you talk about loan fees, administrative fees, or fees for administering the loans of 20 to 25 per cent?

Mr Khanche : Yes.

Senator SINODINOS: That is 20 to 25 per cent of the value of the loan?

Mr Khanche : That is correct. Only if the student chooses to study with a private education provider is that fee charged. That is why am I saying it is not necessarily fair for the private education providers to impose that fee on the students.

Senator SINODINOS: So this fee is not levied if you go to a public institution?

Mr Khanche : That is correct.

Senator SINODINOS: In other words a competitor like a TAFE?

Mr Khanche : TAFE or university.

Senator SINODINOS: You are required to levy such a fee?

Mr Khanche : It is by the Department of Education.

Senator SINODINOS: In effect, it is cost recovery by the Department of Education?

Mr Khanche : That is correct.

Senator SINODINOS: I see. In relation to the Department of Education, one of the other points you make in your submission is availability of training programs so people can become familiar with their obligations.

Mr Khanche : Absolutely.

Senator SINODINOS: What was the issue there? From your point of view, was it that there were not enough programs or that they were filled very quickly?

Mr Khanche : They are filled very quickly. There are not enough programs, definitely. There should be a fair go for private providers in that area.

Senator SINODINOS: What is the benefit of more resources being provided in the area, from your point of view?

Mr Khanche : The benefit is that the student gets a choice. It is all about giving the student a successful experience in their education. It is just impossible for any government to have TAFE and university centres across every small town in Australia. The private providers see niches and they work in smaller regional areas. They should have the opportunity to make it available for students in that particular area. For example, we go to small towns which have populations of 300 or 400. The government cannot necessarily put a TAFE centre there or a university there. It is important that private providers should be offered an opportunity to go in that area and—

Senator SINODINOS: Sure. But what we are talking about here is the provision of training by the department so that people understand their obligations in relation to VET FEE-HELP and the like.

Mr Khanche : Yes. The current reforms from Minister Birmingham, I think, have been excellent. Those necessary changes will make a lot of difference. Some points like I have mentioned for census date are going to be an issue, otherwise most of the reforms the minister has introduced are going to clear up what I have called the bad apples and make sure that the industry does a good job overall.

Senator SINODINOS: He is a tough man that Simon. Senator Carr talked about the separation between the academic and the commercial in your business. From your understanding of the university sector—university providers, including public sector providers—how do they handle the separation between the academic and the commercial?

Mr Khanche : In my experience when I worked with universities, it is a very different environment. They are self-regulating institutions and they have their academic boards. There is no entity that owns a university; it is owned by the government. It is a very different environment to how I started this business. Over a period of time, working with TEQSA, we have had it explained and we have been mentored to have governance separate to academic decisions, and that is what we have implemented for the last four years in my business.

Senator SINODINOS: You have had guidance on how to separate the academic and the commercial?

Mr Khanche : Absolutely. TEQSA have given us a clear indication from the time we became higher education. Separation is very evident in everything that we do when it comes to commercial versus academic decisions.

Senator SINODINOS: This flows through to vocational education and training?

Mr Khanche : Absolutely. The academic board looks over the entire operation of our academic institutions.

Senator SINODINOS: Thank you.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you for your submission and your evidence today. Under point 6 in your submission, you talk about your extensive network of student recruitment agents. When they are doing their work, what information do they provide to prospective students about VET FEE-HELP?

Mr Khanche : They are two different things. I must make myself clear that when I am talking about an extensive agency network, that is overseas agencies. We are a CRICOS provider as well as a VET FEE-HELP provider for the domestic market. We do quite a few things across the board. The network of overseas providers is very different to the domestic market. In the domestic market, we work essentially with very few recruitment agencies and we have a very strong sales team of our own which markets directly to our students. There is a lot of information that happens before any student is enrolled. For example, we have an interview processes. If a student wants to enrol online, we make sure that the student is thoroughly interviewed as part of the enrolment process before the student is admitted into a program.

Senator RHIANNON: What information and at what stage are they provided information about VET FEE-HELP?

Mr Khanche : When we ask them what type of payment they would prefer. A lot of students are fee-for-service as well. Not everybody likes to access VET FEE-HELP. We have to give them all the options that are available to them—pay fee-for-service, access VET FEE-HELP or go on a payment plan and so on.

Senator RHIANNON: So it is at the very initial stage?

Mr Khanche : It has to be at the first stage.

Senator RHIANNON: If those people are not able to access VET FEE-HELP, do you make an assessment whether they will become a student at one of your institutions?

Mr Khanche : Early in my days when I started online in 2008 and 2009—that was when VET FEE-HELP was about to become legislation—I used to sit on the phone and call people who had inquired about our courses. It used to break my heart when people did not have the $500 up-front to pay and get their course started. A lot of times we have given scholarships to get people started. Basically, they are looking to do something better in their lives—they want to change jobs or they have just come out of lean phase in their life and they want to start again. That is when it hit us that if there is something like VET FEE-HELP coming, we will apply for it. We went through a process over two years to become an accredited VET FEE-HELP provider. That is the stage when we reached out to, mostly, regional students, who did not have these choices before.

Senator RHIANNON: So do we take from that that, therefore, many of your students, maybe the majority of regional students or maybe the majority overall, could not access your course if VET FEE-HELP was not available?

Mr Khanche : The vast majority—85 or 90 per cent of our students from regional areas would not access our courses if the VET FEE-HELP scheme did not exist.

Senator RHIANNON: Therefore, wouldn't you see that as a public subsidy to your company in the way it operates?

Mr Khanche : It is not a public subsidy that is available to me unless I have a student.

Senator RHIANNON: But it is a public subsidy.

Mr Khanche : I think it is a direct loan to the student.

Senator RHIANNON: But you have just said that those students would not be able to attend and you would not get payment if that VET FEE-HELP was not there. Irrespective of whose pocket the money ends up in, you would not have those students if there was not public money going to those students.

Mr Khanche : We are talking about accessing education for all Australians, whether they go to a TAFE centre, a university or a private education provider, I do not think that situation changes. As taxpayers, we have agreed that we are going to give a subsidy to the students. Regardless of where they go—private or public—it is the same.

Senator RHIANNON: In an answer to Senator Carr, you described how when you go on a trip you can drive in a Mercedes or a Toyota. I take it from that that you are describing that what you provide is a Mercedes?

Mr Khanche : Absolutely; much more than that.

Senator RHIANNON: You said that you provide more support services. I think that is what you emphasised. Could you elaborate?

Mr Khanche : For example, I have initiated Campus Express for students who do not study on campus or who choose blended study. Campus Express is where we take our campus with my teachers, trainers and student support services staff to a particular location and invite students to come there. Last time, we did it in Queensland and before that we did it in Melbourne. Every month, I am doing a session across this country and one in Sydney. It is for students who do not have access because of their working conditions or because of everything else in their lives and they do not have access to a campus facility. I create a campus for them. I do not see any other public provider doing this sort of thing. The reason I do it is because I come from a student background. I had this pain myself. I had several other priorities while I was studying. It is important to me that I create these opportunities for students. If you are talking about cost of pricing, that reflects in my pricing.

Senator RHIANNON: When you originally set up the business and you came up with your business model, did you at that stage determine what the CEO and the staff should be paid, or has that evolved as the business has developed?

Mr Khanche : For the first two years of this company, I lived on my wife's wages. I did not pay myself. That is the reality of any private business.

Senator RHIANNON: You are now CEO. How has it evolved?

Mr Khanche : It has evolved over a period of time. In the last year or so, I have started paying myself. The business has to evolve so you can find the right people to work for you. Students will come to us if we have the right resources also. I cannot buy resources for nothing. I have to compete with universities, I have to compete with TAFEs, where there is 17 per cent super or more with wages, which are publicly funded—whereas as a private provider I have to invest my own dollars to attract these quality people, on whose behalf I will then go and source more students, telling them, 'I have quality resources that I can offer you.' Without investment, nothing is going to come back. Hiring already scarce resources like quality teachers is not an easy thing to do in this industry at all. We have to compete with universities and TAFEs to get these people on board, and it is not cheap.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you.

Senator O'NEILL: Mr Khanche, how many scholarships of the kind that you just described have you provided?

Mr Khanche : Eleven this year.

Senator O'NEILL: Only 11?

Mr Khanche : Eleven this year.

Senator O'NEILL: How many in previous years?

Mr Khanche : Seven last year and, before that, three.

Senator O'NEILL: Okay. I take you to your submission at point 6, the last paragraph, where you spoke about the number of referrals and applications you had from agencies as being in the order of 25,000.

Mr Khanche : That is correct, yes.

Senator O'NEILL: And you enrolled only 16 per cent of those agency referrals?

Mr Khanche : That is correct.

Senator O'NEILL: That seems an extraordinary number of referrals.

Mr Khanche : Yes. Like I said, we have intensive processes for identifying why the student wants to do that course. It is important to me that it is not just a referral because somebody wants to get away from whatever situation they are in in their lives. I am morally obliged to do that because it is taxpayers' money, at the end of the day. It is important that we are giving these loans to the right candidates. I make sure that the interview process that we go through is quite extensive. It is about 40 to 45 minutes before we make a decision whether or not to admit a student into a particular program or not. We ask questions, such as do they have an understanding of the course, why do they want to do this course, what is their previous background, why a vocational qualification, why us. It is important that they understand what they are getting into. This is not done by just anybody on the phone; all my staff are diploma-of-counselling qualified and all my staff on the phone have a certificate IV in training and assessment as a mandatory condition of being on the phones.

Senator O'NEILL: Okay. Can I ask you about the locations in which you offer these courses and the formats in which you offer them.

Mr Khanche : Yes. We offer them primarily in Sydney. We offer them in blended and online formats nationally. We take our campuses, like I said, for a day or two for intensive days of training, again nationally. So we identify centres and we go there, depending on the number of students enrolled in a particular area.

Senator O'NEILL: So that I understand properly: you predominantly have your offices and your staff in Sydney?

Mr Khanche : My whole campus is in Sydney, where we have over 1,800 students on campus.

Senator O'NEILL: Okay. And you provide online education to how many students?

Mr Khanche : Approximately 3½ thousand, 4,000 students.

Senator O'NEILL: Do you support that online learning with on-site learning in some regions?

Mr Khanche : That is correct. There is also extensive support. I have over 36 call-centre support staff and about 11 trainers who support students who are nationally based, and I run the support centres from 9 am to 9 pm, Sydney standard time.

Senator O'NEILL: The chair is only going to give me one more question, so could you give me more information about that on notice.

In responding to the inquiry's term of reference about students' completion rates, you spoke about the difference in completion rates between students who attend in person and those who are online. Could you provide me with some more detail, in addition to what is provided in this submission, about the postcodes from which students come and where they are progressing and where they are not? Also, you spoke in point 5, I think, about the job outcomes that were achieved prior to graduation—

Mr Khanche : That is right.

Senator O'NEILL: which is something that might not be getting picked up in the data. I do not know how you would get that data without more red tape, as you call it, Mr Khanche.

Mr Khanche : We are happy to give that data because we resource that data. Last year, I put 252 people in jobs, directly, through AIPE, through our employment and career services—252 new jobs. I think that is a significant achievement. The only challenge we have with that is that, the moment the students who are halfway through their program get their jobs, the progression rates of those courses drops dramatically. It goes from 60 or 70 per cent to 12 or 13 per cent. That is something that we need some feedback on. I am talking to ACPET and to several other places where I can get some understanding of how to come across that challenge. The whole objective of the students is to get a job, but the moment they get a job my progression rates drop dramatically and my overall progression rates basically go for a toss.

Senator O'NEILL: And their completion rates and their capacity to have a qualification that transcends the next time they need to find a new job are not achieved.

Mr Khanche : Absolutely. I worked with industry. I put people in Australia Post and I put people with Nike. I work with a lot of new institutions that we have signed up. We send students for internships. This month alone I have sent 31 students for internship. Mostly, the students are getting absorbed in the places they go to for internships.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you very much, Mr Khanche. I am sure there will be some questions on notice from senators today. We thank you for your evidence.