Tuesday, 11 October 2016, Canberra: The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) welcomes the proposed VET Student Loans Scheme.
Last week, Senator Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister for Education and Training, announced the start of the VET Student Loans Scheme from 1 January 2017, subject to the passing of the VET Student Loans Bill 2016 through Parliament. The Minister also announced that the current VET FEE-HELP scheme will cease on 31 December 2016.
The Federal Government has published a range of fact sheets with information about VET Student Loans and the list of courses eligible under the loans scheme.
Judy Brooker, ALIA's Director of Learning, said: 'We are delighted to see that the Diploma of Library and Information Studies has made the list of eligible courses. This is vitally important for ensuring the flow of qualified library technicians to the Library and Information sector.'
'Also we are pleased that the name of the scheme will be changed from VET FEE-HELP to VET Student Loans Scheme. This immediately indicates to students that that they are entering a loan contract and not receiving help that could be misunderstood as a subsidy or a gift.'
Library and information science (LIS) is an occupation with a relatively small, highly qualified workforce (representing approximately 0.2% of the Australian labour force) and an equally small education footprint (approximately 0.2% of VET students and 0.1% of higher education students).
Although the LIS workforce is small, our sector has significant reach and profile because millions of Australians use library services. More than 8.6 million Australians are registered public library users and still more use university, VET, special and school libraries.
Mrs Brooker added: 'The library and information sector remains an attractive proposition. It has a higher average age for workers, many of whom benefit from the option of part time flexible working.'
'There will be a modest increase in the number of qualified positions available over the next five years, but a significant decrease in the number of positions for staff without a library and information science qualification.'
'This is why loan assistance for students is necessary to help those students who may not be able to pay for their entire course upfront, but still want to study to attain those all important qualifications to enable them to compete for future job vacancies.'
About the Australian Library and Information Association
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector. With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support. www.alia.org.au
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