There has been much discussion over the past 12 months about ways the vocational education and training (VET) system can be improved, with the Government drafting a VET Reform Roadmap and offering the opportunity to provide feedback on the topic, building on the initiatives underway as part of the Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package.
These initiatives recognise that we can all contribute to change and be part of a better solution for the VET sector.
Documented on this webpage is Skills Impact’s work, including through IRCs, to support and provide input into the governments’ VET Reform Roadmap. We encourage you to read through some of the issues and potential solutions highlighted here and we welcome any further input you have.
The information has been gathered through our extensive interaction with industry, training providers and other stakeholders in the VET system over the past five years. These stakeholders have shared with us lots of ideas for how VET can be improved. They have shared their concerns and challenges and talked about possible solutions to these. We are collecting this information and undertaking further research to provide input to the governments’ VET Reform Roadmap. Our research includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches, including literature reviews, interviews and discussions with industry and VET stakeholders, data analysis, and surveys.
So far, we have identified five key themes. To read more about each of these themes, please select from the sub-menu at the side of this webpage or click ‘read more’.
Industry only have a leadership role at the beginning of the skills pipeline, to describe their skills requirements. However, they have very little input over what, how and when training is delivered, and how it is funded. A truly industry-led system would have industry involved, in a structured way, at all stages of the system, not only the beginning.
Competency is a Journey
It is not a training destination and it is best achieved through a combination of workplace and institutionalised practice. Our research shows that many VET sector stakeholders prefer a staged approach to competency development.
Thin Markets and RTO Delivery Challenges
The training delivery market fails to operate in high cost and thin markets with serious consequence for a number of industries and occupations. Thin markets exist where there are low student numbers or learners are spread across large geographical areas, where there is access and safety issues, and/or the training is for highly technical skills, and/or a need to use expensive materials and machinery.
Contextualisation of Units
There are more than 18,000 units in the system, despite efforts to reduce them. This is because units are developed to reflect new ways of work, but older methods still exist. Units describing the same skills also exist, but with details specific to a particular industry. National contextualisation materials could help reduce the number of units in the system.
Skills Acquisition is a National Economic/Social Imperative
VET sector training represents less than 2% of hours worked across the economy each year. This is a lot, but clearly only a small contribution to the amount of learning that takes place while working. It is critical that Australia’s skills system recognises the quality and extent of learning taking place in the workforce, which is estimated to be between 2 and 10 times the volume of VET, and ways to capture data about it.
CEO Michael Hartman explains how the issues and solutions presented on this VET Insights section of our website are aligned to the outcomes and goals of the current reform processes, and how they have been developed from our extensive interaction with industry and the VET sector over the past 5 years.
The issues explored in these themes relate to the three priority areas of the draft VET Reform Roadmap around Relevance. Quality. Accessibility. The aim of our work with stakeholders is to not only unpack the issues, but to also offer solutions in key areas of impact, as part of our support for the Governments’ VET reform road map.
Contact us with any questions or to share your thoughts.
VET Improvements Survey
Summary of findings available shortly
Skills Impact took some ideas for VET system improvement that our IRCs and stakeholders have shared with us and asked Griffith University to compile a short, anonymous survey to help test whether the issues are important enough to be on the table of VET policy makers.
Thank you to everybody that took part in this survey. Over 550 responses were received between April and August 2020.
Griffith University are analysing the data and will report on the findings once this analysis is complete.
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