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kaz3g

Soar Aviation and Box Hill Institute lose accreditation

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From the Australian Newspaper yesterday...
 
Australia’s biggest recipient of taxpayer-funded student loans for trainee pilots has been stripped of its authority to offer aviation courses, leaving 400 students in the lurch.

Box Hill Institute was audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority last year following a raft of complaints from students about course delivery and a very low graduation rate.

ASQA is the overseeing authority for VET student loans.

After the audit, flight training provided by Soar Aviation was suspended for a week and students informed of possible minor changes to their courses.

But in a letter distributed to students of Box Hill on Tuesday, aviation manager Adrian Lea said as a result of a decision by ASQA, the institute was no longer authorised to deliver the diploma of aviation from January 30.

“We understand this will be disappointing for you and we are urgently clarifying the ramifications of ASQA’s decision for our aviation students,” Mr Lea wrote.

“We are investigating seeking a reconsideration of the decision by ASQA however it is unclear whether such a request would be successful. In any case, the fact remains that the Diploma of Aviation (including its individual clusters) needs to be discontinued with effect from January 30, 2020.”

He went on to say that it was his “strong recommendation that students did not incur any further costs or fees in relation to enrolled units”, such as further flight training.

Department of Employment statistics for the six months to June 30, 2019, showed more than $7m worth of loans had been paid for 289 enrolments in the commercial pilot licence course at Box Hill.

In 2018, more than $11m in loans was paid for 402 enrolments, but only six students graduated.

A statement from Soar Aviation said its board “strongly refuted the findings of ASQA and the decision to revoke Box Hill Institute’s approval to provide third party practical training in conjunction with Soar Aviation.

“Many of ASQA’s conclusions are based on errors of fact and Soar Aviation is considering the appropriate avenues to maintain its registration,” the statement said.

“Soar Aviation and Box Hill Institute recently reviewed all procedures that are performed under Commercial Pilot Licence aviation training to ensure they comply with all relevant Civil Aviation legislation.”

The statement went to say 70 people had obtainted their Diploma of Aviation under the Box Hill program.

“A further 400 students are enrolled and part way through their course. We will do everything we can to ensure they have the opportunity to complete their training and successfully gain their qualifications.”

Soar Aviation and Box Hill Institute came under renewed scrutiny late last year after the second serious plane crash in 14-months.

On December 12, 2019, a student conducting a solo training flight was seriously injured when his Bristell S-LSA crashed during a “touch and go” manoeuvre at Moorabbin Airport.

On October 5, 2018, another student was left a paraplegic and his trainer injured when their training flight in a Bristell S-LSA went wrong near Stawell in Victoria.

Both incidents remain the subject of Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigations.

Mr Lea’s letter to students said Box Hill would do its best to support them through this period and navigate available options.



Robyn Ironside
Clare Prop is online now Report Post  
 

 

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Something is not right. Perhaps the Bristell is not a good choice as an initial trainer or their training regime is not as robust as it could be. Other than these 2 major crashes what other minor incidents have they had?

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I wouldn't consider that the two crashes in 14 months were indicative of poor training methods. How many other flying schools have had accidents during landing? As for the serious crash, here's the preliminary report https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2018/aair/ao-2018-066/  Interesting that the student was flying an VH aircraft on a RAAus certificate.

 

As for not meeting Australian Skills Quality Authority standards, we don't have the information that lead to the decision to cancel SOAR's approval, but doing so is no light step. The standards that an organisation (Registered Training Organisation - RTO) has to meet are very high. If you have the time, grab a cuppa and read this https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019C00503.

 

The purpose of these Standards is to:

1.     set out the requirements that an organisation must meet in order to be an RTO;

2.     ensure that training products delivered by RTOs meet the requirements of training packages or VET accredited courses, and have integrity for employment and further study; and

3.     ensure RTOs operate ethically with due consideration of learners’ and enterprises’ needs.

 

The VET (Vocational Education Training) standards for what SOAR said it would meet in training are described here https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/AVI50219

 

My thought is that SOAR failed to meet Standard No 3 (above). Blind Freddy could see that SOAR could not have the facilities to "operate ethically with due consideration of Leaner's ... needs". Just think how many aircraft and instructors you would need to efficiently train 402 students over a one, even two, year period. I doubt if the RAAF could do that at the height of WWll.

 

How many of these students are studying navigation as Uber Eats drivers?

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14 minutes ago, old man emu said:

 Interesting that the student was flying an VH aircraft on a RAAus certificate.

 

I cant find anywhere that it says that in the report ?  Or is it just casual gossip ?   I would imagine this is a MAJOR problem if true.

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They have had other serious accidents. Most of the fleet are Foxbats. They totalled one at Bendigo about 18 months ago.

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Students alleging they have expended $80k under Vet Fee Help and haven’t achieved a PPL, let alone a CPL. Huge debt and nothing to show for it.

 

There is a VCAT heading in progress and I’m trying to get the case number.

 

kaz

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Caution with names. We are talking about Vocational Education Training, nothing to do with military veterans. Designed to deliver workplace-specific skills and knowledge, vocational education and training (VET) covers a wide range of careers and industries.

 

Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications have been developed with the specific goal of preparing students with skills for work. VET is designed to help people to join or re-join the workforce, move into a new career or gain additional skills in their existing career. VET qualifications have a very practical focus. As well as specific skills for your chosen occupation, a VET course will often include generic work-based topics such as workplace health and safety.  
 

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Interesting to see the great division in opinions of the staff https://www.glassdoor.com.au/Reviews/Soar-Aviation-Reviews-E2602783.htm

 

I was wondering about RAAus member numbers, then I got onto this information:

RPL-cost-breakdown.jpg

 

 

All Soar students have RAAus membership. Soar claims 400-odd students. When I equate those numbers to the fee for membership, my cynicism gene kicks into action and I start wondering about someone coping a kick-back to  smooth over a few bumps.

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20 hours ago, kaz3g said:

In 2018, more than $11m in loans was paid for 402 enrolments, but only six students graduated.

If those numbers are correct I'm not surprised they were audited for quality

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Wow!  A shipload of dollars has passed through this organisations accounts.  If the 410 students all paid $9896, and not a single one of them required >20 hrs dual + 5 hrs solo: that alone is $4,057,360.   If that was the gross take from the students - why did they require $11m in 'loans' of good ol taxpayer monies?

 

In 15 years, I've never had a student pilot pass their RPC in the bare minimums: perhaps SOAR have an effective screening system which only allows budding Top Guns in the front door?  The RAAF can't even achieve 100% pass each course: even with their very close selection - there is a substantial washout rate. But 6 passes out of 410??  Is their testing done by an independent ATO/FE, or is it 'in house'?   Wonder how many washed out along the way, and quietly faded off the scene to take up some paid activity in the big city?

 

The advertisement refers to the RPL, which is the GA qualification: yet the minimums quoted are for the RPC? Are we talking about the same thing because I'd be highly impressed with a flying school based on a Class D airport, being able to achieve an RPL in these times.

 

Curiouser and curiouser.

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From the Australian....
 

Australia’s biggest recipient of taxpayer-funded student loans for trainee pilots has been stripped of its authority to offer aviation courses, leaving 400 students in the lurch.

Box Hill Institute was audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority last year following a raft of complaints from students about course delivery and a very low graduation rate.

ASQA is the overseeing authority for VET student loans.

After the audit, flight training provided by Soar Aviation was suspended for a week and students informed of possible minor changes to their courses.

But in a letter distributed to students of Box Hill on Tuesday, aviation manager Adrian Lea said as a result of a decision by ASQA, the institute was no longer authorised to deliver the diploma of aviation from January 30.

“We understand this will be disappointing for you and we are urgently clarifying the ramifications of ASQA’s decision for our aviation students,” Mr Lea wrote.

“We are investigating seeking a reconsideration of the decision by ASQA however it is unclear whether such a request would be successful. In any case, the fact remains that the Diploma of Aviation (including its individual clusters) needs to be discontinued with effect from January 30, 2020.”

He went on to say that it was his “strong recommendation that students did not incur any further costs or fees in relation to enrolled units”, such as further flight training.

Department of Employment statistics for the six months to June 30, 2019, showed more than $7m worth of loans had been paid for 289 enrolments in the commercial pilot licence course at Box Hill.

In 2018, more than $11m in loans was paid for 402 enrolments, but only six students graduated.

A statement from Soar Aviation said its board “strongly refuted the findings of ASQA and the decision to revoke Box Hill Institute’s approval to provide third party practical training in conjunction with Soar Aviation.

“Many of ASQA’s conclusions are based on errors of fact and Soar Aviation is considering the appropriate avenues to maintain its registration,” the statement said.

“Soar Aviation and Box Hill Institute recently reviewed all procedures that are performed under Commercial Pilot Licence aviation training to ensure they comply with all relevant Civil Aviation legislation.”

The statement went to say 70 people had obtainted their Diploma of Aviation under the Box Hill program.

“A further 400 students are enrolled and part way through their course. We will do everything we can to ensure they have the opportunity to complete their training and successfully gain their qualifications.”

Soar Aviation and Box Hill Institute came under renewed scrutiny late last year after the second serious plane crash in 14-months.

On December 12, 2019, a student conducting a solo training flight was seriously injured when his Bristell S-LSA crashed during a “touch and go” manoeuvre at Moorabbin Airport.

On October 5, 2018, another student was left a paraplegic and his trainer injured when their training flight in a Bristell S-LSA went wrong near Stawell in Victoria.

Both incidents remain the subject of Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigations.

Mr Lea’s letter to students said Box Hill would do its best to support them through this period and navigate available options.



Robyn Ironside

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One student has alleged:

 

“Soar has taught me how to fly, some instructors were EXCELLENT and of course with every "community" there is always a few bad apples who practically will fail you for not having the optional clip on tie as a part of the uniform that's non compulsory in the eyes of the OPS manual, they did teach me how to fly but at what expense? I will tell you; I have a student loan that is close to $80k with an interest rate labelled as "index of inflation" at 1.8%-1.9% every new financial year on top...between $1440 - $1620 in fees on top of the loan you already have(depending who or which department you ask in the government), what do I have? practically a useless RPL and you know what, that licence doesn't even have CTA & CTR nor a flight review to activate it and be usable. what about the RA-AUS RPC then? well that's a whole different kettle of fish to boil, you guys wouldn't know what the hell is RA-AUS and what is it doing in a controlled aerodrome such as Moorabbin, well I will save you the troubles so you don't have to beat around the bush (casa EX69/18). so you might ask "HOW?" well its very simple. I got sucked in. I was one of those originals promised to fly the 172's and the Foxbat as the old mate who could sell ice to an Eskimo (those people know who I'm talking about, cant compromise anyone's identity), he was pitching the course at the time told me this would be temporary, so I believed as you would, they say ignorance is no excuse; well neither is deception.

 

But 80k and not even a licence I can use unless I pay out of my pocket to get a flight review and having to pay out of my pocket for CTA & CTR just to use the damn RPL is not right... I'm sure there is HEAP's of people who went to other flight schools and had an EASY pass. yes I said EASY pass. because we(the students that are in the group) developed a paranoia towards failure. we have to repeat whole flight again and again.”

 

 

It appears to me that a student who is up for $80k for an RPL without even Nav and CTA has paid an awful lot of money for very little. It also appears to me that what has been provided is not what was promised (a CPL).

 

I understand there is a VCAT hearing underway as well as the ASQA investigation. Very embarrassing for Box Hill TAFE and I wonder if the multi-millionaire founder of SOAR will ever be held to account should adverse findings result.

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The moral of the story for prospective CPL’s is that they should look very closely at VET fee help offers such as these. Balance the advertising against the facts and actually talk to other clients of these businesses directly. Don’t trust web-based reviews.

 

There are legitimate courses being offered with training provided under the fee assistance model but there are traps and pitfalls for the unwary. Once they have your loan money it’s very hard to get it back. 

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I'm hoping some passports have been confiscated and bank accounts frozen.....

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Totally outrageous and 100% unacceptable. How did they get away with it for so long? It just proves to me that government funding and authorisation based on a process devised by academics with no knowledge or practical experience can be exploited by devious arxholes for profit and bring an entire industry into disrepute. Well the culprits will be rewarded, the students bankrupted or totally disillusioned and the architects will do nothing.

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Things have obviosuly moved on in Australia since I had emigrated, but why on earth would one do a recreational licence on the way to a CPL? Wouldn't it be better to go straight tfor the PPL? And back to the students, even with fee assistance, if one is going to depart with c. 80K of their money, even at the age of 17 or so, surely it wouldn't be beyond the realms of logic to darned well do some research before committing that cash. Expensive lesson for them (that they should not have had to learn).

 

I remember when I started to learn to fly, back before the days of the WWW, when a PPL costs something like $4K from memory (of one did the course in average time), it was straight to the newsagent and copies of Aussie Aviation and Aussie Flying for a couple of months, visited every school at Moorabbin, as well as Baccus Marsh (TVSA where there at the time) and other schools/instructors at other airfields before making a decision. Most students at the time went through much the same process. Also, it was common that one used the same insructor all the way through (not sure about now)... When I realised the one I settled on was not quite up to the standard I expected, I ditched him for another, which worked like a charm. Now with the intersplodge, it is so much easier to access unbiased/independent information - many mag sites put their articles online for free these days..

 

There are always bumps along the way that can't be controlled or just happen due to circumstances, slip ups, etc, but the above student's write up does ring of intentional fraud... which may mean the stuents can personally go after the CEO and directors rather than a $2 company.

Edited by Jerry_Atrick

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Authorities have been long aware that the VET system has been, and is being rorted to the tune of billions of tax payers money. Very little in the way of responsibility and accountability ever seems to be forthcoming from the politicians and those who should be overseeing this lending.

 

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/02/australians-continue-pay-vocational-education-rorts/

 

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/hundreds-of-millions-lost-from-vocational-scheme-20191206-p53hqk.html

 

This is from December 2016 (3 yrs ago) .......ironically it asks "How did this go on for so long?" yet here here we are in 2020 and it's STILL going on.  

https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/stupendous-incompetence-how-did-the-vetfee-help-rort-last-so-long-20161220-gteziw

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2 minutes ago, Jerry_Atrick said:

but why on earth would one to a recreational licence on the way to a CPL?

Because this may have been the cheapest way for the teaching institution to give the ILLUSION that students will get their cpl with the knowledge they probably won't.....

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A very enterprising young man - so good on him for that.... Selling to PEs probably not the best way to go.. because they, like VCs want to see very good returns and growth... and unless he was in cash flow drought territory, the services of a board of directors or business mentors may have been a better approach...

 

 

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Problem with these systems is no actual defined result. i.e. you are now able to work as the following.


same problem with Uni courses... the course is so broad and there is no job guarantees at the end.
it doesn't actually qualify you to do any work.

I have friends who are psychology grads working as receptionists. (they don't meet the industry minimum standards)
my brother in-law is a qualified paramedic... working as a computer programmer. (no jobs in the field)
they provide an "education" not a career path

Problem is that there is so much out there, and its all so undefined that I'd probably fall for it.
If someone said do our course and at the end you can fly commercially, its all done in one place - I'd jump at it too.

 

as for other incidents...
I had a yellow foxbat a few hundred meters off my wing, while doing circuits at the airport I fly with the other day.
no radio calls at all, not responding. despite being at circuit height...

Edited by spenaroo

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13 hours ago, Downunder said:

Because this may have been the cheapest way for the teaching institution to give the ILLUSION that students will get their cpl with the knowledge they probably won't.....

There are reputable and professional FTS’s offering RA time towards PPL and beyond because it is a much cheaper alternative for building early hours. 
 

What’s important is the steady progression through the syllabus and responsible transition to GA environment.

 

The hoped for advantage of using the VET system is the ability to do continuous training and pay the loan back later rather than having to scrape funds together as possible and learn part time.

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Just about ALL Gov't funded schemes get rorted. There's no shortage of SPIVS who exploit the rules and ruin things for the rest of us who want to see fair things done, and a stable system and value for money. A BRAND name used to be worth something. and your word was worth something too.

  My aviation START was generally the hard way funded by myself from my job at the time (teaching) and some army pay  when on camp,  although I managed  a scholarship that paid a small part. in the latter period (to CPL plus Instructor rating)

      An average weeks wages paid for about  two hours of flight time  so you do better today, in that regard . Schools/ Clubs were good with plenty of experienced ex WW2 instructors though some were just flying hours at your expense (keeping their hand in).  I was as poor as a Church Mouse.. DCA was more hands on than CASA. with plenty of "personalities" in DCA  ex RNAC.. Much beer was drunk.   Nev

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This give an idea of the opportunity for rorting

a8e64c65015863d586285cddfec09e7512beba42

The only people making a success of the VET Fee Scheme are the unscrupulous graduates of the Diploma in Pocket Lining. https://www.smh.com.au/education/vocational-education-how-the-shonks-and-shysters-took-control-20150925-gjujt5.html

 

Have you noticed that a lot of the operators of these dodgy "institutes of learning" are "recent immigrants" from the sub-continent?

 

 

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