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Old 28th Dec 2019, 11:02
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 371
VSL student loans increase good news for schools and students in 2020.

But what about helo folks?

In April 2019, Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack announced from January 2020, the amount those studying aviation can borrow more under the vocational education and training (VET) student loans scheme will be increased from $104,440 to $150,000. An industry review in 2018 had shown the previous loan limit was not enough to provide aeroplane student pilots with all the licences and ratings required. It was recommended the increased limit would allow more students to obtain the Flight Instructor Rating as well as either the agriculture rating for students wanting to stay in General Aviation or the Multi Crew Cooperation course for those wanting to continue to the airlines.

That’s why the cap will be lifted to the same level as courses for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.

An aviation skills and training report written by a panel of experts chaired by The Australian Aviation Associations Forum and published in July 2018 found Australia was experiencing a severe shortage of aviation personnel and urgent action was needed if the country was to avoid major disruptions.

The panel of experts comprised representatives from Aircraft Structural Contractors, Aviation Australia, Basair Aviation College, QantasLink, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Regional Express Flight Training Academy and Virgin Australia, made extensive recommendations.

Later, the Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF) chairman Jeff Boyd welcomed the increase in lifetime loan limit. “This increase will now ensure that pilots will be able to complete their training with not only bare minimum qualifications, but relevant and employable qualifications thereby helping to ease Australia’s pilot shortage,” Boyd said in the ministers’ statement.

Readers should note the helicopter industry was not directly involved in the AIS study, although the TAAAF (Jeff Boyd) would be representing the AHIA which is a member of the TAAAF.

As a result, helicopter potential students are not sure how the new increase will work for them at helicopters schools. Due to the more expensive flying rates, a VFR single engine commercial license will probably cost around $95,000 using a VSL loan. Advanced training for IFR and multiengine helicopter training is very expensive and is yet to be evaluated.

Further, the situation is further complicated by the fact only a very few flying schools can provide the needed advanced training. This situation is being reviewed by several government agencies, such as TAFE Queensland.

This is a challenge for the AHIA executive; who are doing a great job getting RotorTech 2020 ready for June 2020 – and representing the firefighting industry as needed during these terrible times with bushfires. However, training schools appear not yet be ready to handle this complicated issue and are not well represented at Rotortech 2020.

Is it time to have a new industry group focussed on the helicopter training problems; or maybe ask the AHIA to establish a training advisory group within their existing structure.

The new funding starts in a few days .... are we ready?
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