Funding Growth in the NT Training Market


The Northern Territory Department of Business are reviewing the funding and business model for vocational education and training in the Northern Territory.


Submissions are sought as part of a consultation process to identify the views of stakeholders in developing sustainable approaches to supporting the funding growth in the Northern Territory training market.  Any feedback, however brief, is much appreciated. Should you only have one key response to submit, please add it in the comments section at the bottom of the survey


Please read the Discussion paper ‘Funding Growth in the NT Training Market’   pdf (PDF 109KB)    (docx 57KB)


Responses can be submitted until 24 April 2015. All submissions are anonymous but there is an option to tell us what sector, experience or industry background you come from, and to identify yourself if you desire. 


Each section of the paper has a corresponding set of questions, your responses to which we value. The paper’s questions and response sections are labelled and linked below for your convenience.


You are welcome to answer any or all of the following questions.  


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A1. Student entitlement to a government funded training place

A.1.1: Should the student entitlement places continue to attract full public investment?

A.1.2: If not, what is an appropriate level of contribution to be made by government?

A.1.3: Should there be exceptions to the level of contribution? e.g. should some qualifications/student cohorts/locations attract more or less contribution?

A.1.4: If so, how should these be determined?

A.1.5: What is the best mechanism to determine which courses attract this investment?

A2. User choice funding for apprenticeship and traineeship training delivery

A.2.1: Should apprenticeship and traineeship training continue to attract full public investment?

A.2.2: Should there be different subsidy levels for apprenticeship and traineeship training vs general skills development training?

A.2.3: How should the department determine the appropriate level of funding for the various qualification levels and industry groups?

A.2.4: Do the current funding arrangements for apprenticeships and traineeships meet the needs of employers and individuals?

A.2.5: Should qualifications that address skill shortages or priority industries be funded at the same rate as non-priority areas even when they are in the same industry group?

A.2.6: If not, how should the difference be determined?

A.2.7: Should user choice funding be open to full market contestability?

A3. Foundation skills in language, literacy, numeracy and employability

A.3.1: Should foundation skills attract full public investment?

A.3.2: Should foundation skills, both units and qualifications, be delivered stand-alone or should they always be delivered in conjunction with vocational training?

A.3.3: How should the funding value of foundation skills be determined?

A.3.4: What is the most efficient and effective way to fund foundation skills? Integrated into the vocational rates or as a stand-alone payment linked to the needs of individual students?

A.3.5: Should funding for foundation skills be restricted to specific cohorts or geographic locations, or be based on individual needs?

A4. Those with low levels of workforce participation

A.4.1: Should training for those persons with disadvantage attract full public investment?

A.4.2: Should funding amounts for people with low levels of workforce participation or from disadvantaged groups be the same as for non-disadvantaged groups?

A.4.3: If not, how should different funding levels be established? e.g. loadings (additional funding) for different types of disadvantage

A.4.4: What is the most efficient and effective way to fund additional training for disadvantaged groups? Integrated into the vocational rates of investment, or as a stand-alone payment linked to the needs of individual students?

A5. Regional training requirements

A.5.1: What is the best method to balance the training needs of the regions with those in Darwin? 

A.5.2: Are there markets in Darwin that should no longer attract public investment?

A.5.3: If so, what are they?

A.5.4: Are the current loadings for regional and remote delivery adequate?

A.5.5: Instead of loadings, would a sliding scale work? i.e. the more distance from a larger centre the higher the rate

A.5.6: Would a set rate per qualification per delivery location be more appropriate?

A.5.7: How should the rate for regional and remote loadings be determined?

A.5.8: Are the current definitions of regional and remote appropriate?  If not, why?

A.5.9: What is the best mechanism to recognise and invest in regional training?

B1. Establishing price signals

B.1.1: Would the Northern Territory economy benefit from having clear price signals in the training market? 

B.1.2: Is the current funding model influencing what training providers deliver?

B.1.3: Is the current funding model influencing what training people undertake?

B2. Moving from purchasing to investing

B.2.1: Should public funding be lower for higher level qualifications?

B.2.2: Should public funding be used to invest in qualifications only, or should investment be made in skill sets and/or units of competency as well?

B.2.3: Should public funding continue to be provided based on an hourly rate or should it be a fixed qualification rate?

B.2.4: Should the public investment be a fixed dollar amount linked to the level of qualification or set at a percentage?

B.2.5: What is the best timing of payments to providers, for example, monthly in arrears?

B.2.6: Should the Department move to an outcomes based funding model?

B.2.7: If so, how should withdrawals and cancellations be treated in an outcomes-based model?

B.2.8: Should funding agreements provide for greater certainty in the market, for example, longer periods of time than one year?

B.2.9: Is there enough information in the marketplace to assist informed choices by the Department, individuals and employers?  If not, how could this be improved?

B3. Increased contestability

B.3.1: Should the Department of Business open up its investment in training to be fully or more contestable?

B.3.2: What are the advantages and disadvantages of increased contestability in the publicly funded vocational educational and training market?

B.3.3: Is there a right balance between local delivery capacity and having a completely open, contestable training market?

B.3.4: Will making the training market more contestable increase the number of students or just increase the number of training providers with access to public funding?

B.3.5: Should the training market in the Northern Territory be ‘managed’ to prevent market failure? If so, how much should it be managed?

B4. Support for the public providers

B.4.1: Are there still roles for public training providers in the Northern Territory?

B.4.2: What is the best way to fund the public providers? For example, should the public providers receive a base operating grant separate from training investment programs?

B.4.3: Should there be a differential rate of investment, higher for public providers to recognise the multiple functions they perform?

B.4.4: Are there areas in the training market where government needs to protect the public providers eg, traditional trades, where there has been significant public investment in resources and infrastructure?

B.4.5: What would be the consequences for training delivery in regional and remote areas of reduced funding to public providers?

C1. A framework

C.1.1: Would the Northern Territory benefit from a comprehensive framework to determine levels of investment?

C.1.2: Should there be a publicly available vocational education and training investment plan?  Should it cover one or more years?

C.1.3: How can the skills needs assessment be strengthened to enhance the investment decision-making process?

C2. Variable rates of investment

C.2.1: What are the advantages and disadvantages of introducing variable rates of investment for training?

C.2.2: How should the level of investment be determined?
For example, should the Department consider a priority model similar to other jurisdictions:
            Priority 1 = 100% subsidy
            Priority 2 = 75%
            Priority 3 = 50%
            Priority 4 = 0%

C.2.3: Is there an optimal level of co-investment/co-contribution?

C.2.4: Should the Department set different levels of funding for the different industry groups?

C.2.5: What would be the advantages and disadvantages of this type of model?

C.2.6: What factors need to be taken into account in making the transition from full publicly funded training to co-investment/co-contribution?

C.2.7: What challenges may result from the introduction of variable rates of funding and/or co-investment/co-contribution?

C.2.8: Will co-investment/co-contribution or variable levels of subsidy deter students from undertaking training?

C3. Clarity and transparency

C.3.1: What information is required to support more informed decision making by students, employers and training providers?

C4. Lessons from other states

C.4.1: How can the unintended consequences experienced in other states be avoided and the integrity of the Northern Territory system protected?

C.4.2: Will current training reporting adequately provide the right information to the Department of Business, registered training organisations, employers and individuals? If not, what will need to happen?

If you wish to provide more context to your responses, please volunteer your sector, experience, industry background or identity here. Otherwise, your response will remain completely anonymous.