CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Nick Klomp.
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Nick Klomp. Mike Knott BUN150419GRAD1

Study reform needed

CQUNIVERSITY'S vice-chancellor has urged for reformation of tertiary education and believes there is a "caste system” between university education and apprenticeships.

Vice-chancellor Professor Nick Klomp said there is discrimination against apprentices who are struggling to fulfil harder requirements.

Prof Klomp has worked at other Australian and international universities, but CQUniversity has exposed him to the "dual system”, in which the university doubles as a TAFE and a university.

The double-standards between the two immediately became obvious to him when he became the university's vice-chancellor five months ago.

"The system blesses those who choose university with the full support and protection of an advanced, benevolent society,” Prof Klomp said.

"The weirdest part of all this is there seems to be a compliant, peaceful acceptance of this inequality, which you simply couldn't imagine were it any other form of social injustice.

"Our apprenticeship training system may have served our economy well for a time. But the world has moved on, whereas the way we train our apprentices remains stuck in a bygone era.”

Prof Klomp referred to the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) that university students benefit from, while apprentices were overlooked from the scheme.

Apprentices were paid for the work they did but in their first few years it was not much different to youth allowance, and were overlooked from government loans unless they were completing a diploma, or a higher level qualification.

One of the major barriers that affected apprentices was they needed to line up an employer before they began training.

If apprentices lost their job then they could no longer continue their training to complete their certificate, and therefore were vulnerable to economic conditions that may impact on their employers.

This was something that university students did not need to worry about.

Prof Klomp said that it would be more beneficial to change the structure of apprenticeship training so they completed theoretical training on tertiary campuses for the first two years, and then gained on-field experience in their third year.

It would mean that employers would gain more experienced apprentices when they first started out so they were not teaching them the basics, while at the same time the apprentices were not so vulnerable to their job.

It is something that previously happened with nursing, a skill which previously was learned on the job while now it required tertiary education.

An advantage to Prof Klomp's changes is it would make education more seamless with university students able to gain more practical experience.

"We shouldn't be always thinking, 'hang on, is that vocational or a higher education degree'.

"Everyone needs physical skills.”

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