A number of reforms to the vocational education and training (VET) sector are currently being undertaken by the Australian Government. These reforms focus on ensuring students and employers receive high quality training that is responsive to the needs of industry and translates into employment opportunities for individuals.
In this context, the Australian Government is consulting on two aspects of the system:
- unduly short courses, and
- training products
The consultations for unduly short courses and for training product reform are being conducted simultaneously to ensure complementarity.
Unduly short courses
In June 2017, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) released its strategic review on unduly short courses. The review made three recommendations, that:
- the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 be amended to include a definition of the ‘amount of training’ that focuses on supervised learning and assessment activities
- training package developers be able to respond to industry-specific risks by setting mandatory requirements, including an amount of training
- RTOs be required to publish Product Disclosure Statements that include the range of learning activities expected, including the amount of training, for each training product on their scope of registration.
In December 2017, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP announced public consultations with VET stakeholders on the implementation of ASQA’s recommendations. A discussion paper was also released to support the consultations and public submissions to the process.
The discussion paper outlines the reforms currently being undertaken by the Australian Government.
Training product reform
Technological changes, changing growth industries and how workers engage with labour market are among a range of economic forces changing the future of work and the skills required by the Australian workforce. It is imperative that training products remain adaptable to a range of factors that will affect workforce trends and to provide learners with the skills and capacity to enable them to achieve a broader range of employment opportunities or further study.
Skills ministers agreed in November 2016 that work be undertaken to examine and develop a case for change to enhance training products, in partnership with industry and in consultation with the VET sector. This is to ensure that training products continue to be relevant in the future, and support skills development as technology and industry changes.
A Joint Working Party, comprising state and territory and industry representatives was established to undertake this work. The Joint Working Party reported back to skills ministers in November 2017 on the case for change and recommended next steps. Skills ministers agreed to continue to explore enhancements to training products.
How to get involved
The Australian Government Department of Education and Training has released discussion papers on unduly short courses and training product reform.
VET stakeholders are encouraged to consider and respond to the discussion papers on unduly short courses and training product reform:
Unduly short courses:
Training product reform:
- Training Product Reform: What is the case for change
- Training Product Reform: Issues for discussion
- Training Product Reform: Template for submissions
Submissions to the public consultation processes will be open until 9 March 2018.
Further queries may be directed to the department via VETconsultation@education.gov.au.