Australia faces a number of pressing workforce threats and opportunities. A highly skilled workforce is required to maintain and improve our economic position in the face of increasing global competition, and to have the skills to adapt to the introduction of new technology and rapid change.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) provides people with the skills they need to contribute to increased productivity in Australian businesses and the economy as a whole. Australia’s VET system has significant strengths and international standing: a national qualifications framework and nationally recognised training, direct participation by industry in defining the skills needed in particular occupations, a good record with disadvantaged students, and shared costs across students, industry and governments.
However, while vocational education and training has undergone significant reform over the last decade, concerns are being raised about whether this has resulted in a system that is overly complex with distorted incentives and increasing concerns about quality. The Minister has asked the department to look at ways of achieving a greater focus on industry and employer needs and streamlining the VET system in order to improve its capacity to meet Australia’s future skills needs without unnecessary red tape.
The VET Reform Taskforce was established on 4 November 2013 to look at these issues. Future reforms of the training sector would aim to enhance the existing capacity of the system to deliver high quality training outcomes for students; strengthen industry investment; provide more responsible regulation of training providers; and increase flexibility for training providers to deliver the training that employers need.
The Australian Government will work with state and territory governments, Registered Training Organisations, industry groups and employers throughout 2014 to better understand core sectoral issues and reach consensus on the way forward.
Additional opportunities for providing input and feedback (including through workshops and webinars) will be ongoing throughout the year to ensure everyone has a chance to join the conversation. In the meantime, the Department’s VET Reform Taskforce welcomes your views at: VETTaskforce@industry.gov.au.