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VET Reform Update

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison reminded Australia of his commitment to Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reform at the National Press Club on the 29 January 2019, saying “skills reform will be a priority for COAG discussions in March and beyond”.

He highlighted the Government’s $50 million commitment to TAFE Revitalisation, the reform of Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), and how the Government will make it easier for many VET students to access courses by increasing the size of loans available.

Council of Australian Governments (COAG) VET Reform Roadmap

The COAG Skills Council met on 22 November 2019 to agree on an approach to enhancing VET. They discussed a draft COAG VET Reform Roadmap and agreed to immediately fast track four pieces of foundational work:

  • A review of VET Student loans
  • Assess the use of micro-credentials to help the system better respond to student needs while preserving the importance of nationally recognised qualifications
  • Defining quality including possible reforms to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015
  • Extend the work the Committee has led to streamline the training package development system. This work will be led by the AISC and State and Territory senior officials.

These are some of the initiatives have been identified as part of the Australian Government’s Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package.

Co-design Initiatives

Last year the Government sought feedback on three co-design initiatives, as part of its Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package. This included the piloting of Skills Organisations, the establishment of a National Skills Commission, and the establishment of a National Careers Institute. Adam Boyton was announced as the Interim National Skills Commissioner on 24 October 2019. Scott Cam was announced as the inaugural National Careers Ambassador on 10 October 2019. Key findings of these consultations will be available shortly (follow updates).

The first two of the pilot Skills Organisation programs for Digital Technology and Human Services Care have formally commenced and members of the steering group announced, with the third pilot in mining yet to commence.

The announcement was made on 31 January by Michaelia Cash, Senator and Minister for Small and Family Business and Steve Irons, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships. Minister Cash said the “the first two Skills Organisation Pilots will allow target industries the opportunity to shape the national training system to be more responsive to their particular skills needs, and to ensure that employers have confidence in the quality of VET graduates”.

The initial phase of the two pilots will be led by the steering group which will undertake projects and collaborate with industry on development of a detailed design for the longer-term model. Yasmin Allen has been announced as Chair of the Digital Technology steering group. John Murray has been announced as Chair of the Human Services Care steering group.

Further information on each Skills Organisation Pilot, including information on how to contribute to design work, is available at employment.gov.au/so

Submission to the Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission has commenced a study to examine how well the Australian, State and Territory governments have achieved their goals for the VET system as set out in the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, and the suitability of the agreement for the future. They released an Issues Paper on 22 November 2019 and are due to publish an interim report on 31 March 2020. Skills Impact is one of more than 60 organisations and individuals that have made submissions based on the Issues Paper. Information about the study and the submissions that are publicly available (including Skills Impact) can be found here.