TAFE SA wins vote of confidence from national regulator

In a massive win for South Australian industry and job seekers, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has granted TAFE SA the maximum seven-year registration as a national VET Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for local and international students.

It is the first time that TAFE SA has ever received this length of registration.

This tick of approval from the national regulator represents a significant step towards TAFE SA’s goal of becoming known as a benchmark for high-quality vocational education in South Australia.

Applications for the renewal of RTO registration are rigorously assessed by ASQA and are granted for two, five or the maximum seven years.

ASQA has also registered TAFE SA on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRISCOS) for the next seven years.

Education Minister John Gardner said the announcement represents a significant milestone in rebuilding TAFE SA into the quality vocational training provider that South Australians deserve.

“Today’s announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the Government’s policy direction, as outlined in our Fresh Start for TAFE SA,” said Minister Gardner.

“South Australian industry and job seekers can now go forward with enhanced confidence that TAFE SA is delivering high quality training that meets the standards required and industry needs.

“This is a very positive outcome for TAFE SA which would not have been achieved without the dedication and commitment of staff across the organisation to implement a new quality framework.

“TAFE SA remain committed to maintaining ongoing quality measures and the Government has put in place radically improved structures and oversight to ensure TAFE SA continues to deliver on its fresh start.

“This seven-year registration demonstrates that the Government’s commitment to TAFE SA and their efforts in improving compliance has not gone unnoticed.”

TAFE SA Chief Executive David Coltman said that the positive response to the registration renewal was a strong show of confidence in the improvements that have been made across TAFE SA.

“This is a really positive outcome for TAFE SA and a vote of confidence in the extensive quality improvements that have been implemented across all of our programs,” said Mr Coltman.

“TAFE SA has embarked on a fresh start, we are committed to providing quality outcomes for students and working closely with industry, and this seven-year registration confirms that we are on the right path.

“Staff across TAFE SA have worked tirelessly to ensure all of our education and training services are compliant, and at the standard that students, industry and the community deserve.

“We are at the first stage of the journey, we are focused on continuous improvement and we will continue to develop high quality and innovative training that responds to student and industry needs.

“At TAFE SA, we will continue to ensure that our education and training services meet the standards of all relevant regulatory bodies and that it plays an important role in building the South Australian workforce for the future.”

/Public News. View in full here.

Ministerial Skills Roundtable dishes up skills advice

New industry engagement roundtables will be held in regions across the state as a central part of the Palaszczuk Government’s new Skills for Queensland strategy launched this week.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said there has been strong industry support for the Skills for Queensland strategy which includes programs and initiatives that will target critical training needs to address current skills shortages.

“We know we need to ensure we have a skilled workforce, now and into the future,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We know that Government cannot provide all training needs without the help of industry. This includes Jobs Queensland, regional jobs committees, employers, training providers and schools.

“It’s the ongoing collaboration between government, industry and business that will ensure we have the skilled workers we need now and for emerging industries.”

“Better engagement and better supply of training and skills is at the core of the Skills for Queensland strategy.

“I’ll be bringing all that strategic advice together when we hold our regular Ministerial Skills Roundtable meetings, supported by local advice through our regional job committees.”

The Minister also welcomed the guidance of Jobs Queensland, chaired by Professor Peter Coaldrake.

“Jobs Queensland will provide the skills roundtable with strategic advice and research about future skills needs and workforce planning requirements in Queensland to inform key policy discussions and skills investment priorities,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“Industry, business and government need to plan together and Jobs Queensland’s advice and research will assist with the decision making.”

Construction Skills Queensland CEO Brett Schimming endorsed the Skills for Queensland strategy particularly the Ministerial Skills Roundtable initiative.

“It is important that future skilling and training strategies are evidence-based and designed to meet the real and emerging needs of local workforces,” Mr Schimming said.

“The Ministerial Skills Roundtable will ensure that the government’s planning will be directly informed by reporting from current workforce training experts.”

Ms Fentiman said the Ministerial Skills Roundtable will meet at least twice a year to ensure the government can plan ahead and make the necessary investment in training.

“This will ensure the government hears industry input to skills investment priorities first‑hand,” Ms Fentiman said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Ai Group urges COAG to genuinely tackle training system reform

Ai Group has urged the Prime Minister and State and Territory leaders to use tomorrow’s COAG meeting in Cairns to genuinely tackle the reform of Australia’s training system.

“With the global economy now in choppy waters and Australia falling down the world’s performance tables, now, more than ever, governments need to work with industry to secure a long-term prosperous future for us all. The first step has to be a ground-up rebuild of our Vocational Education and Training (VET) System. This must be a national priority,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“It is our view that the VET system is in a less than optimal state to meet the national imperatives of delivering the skill requirements for the labour market of the future.

“Our economy and community are facing significant transformations, triggered by digital disruption, structural adjustment and demographic shifts. This has contributed to a dynamic and accelerating requirement for skills and employment. However, they are not the same as those of today and improvements are urgent and necessary for Australia to have a training system that meets both current and future needs.

“From an employer and individual perspective our training system is further bedevilled by inconsistency in both its multiple funding regimes, declining levels of funding and varying qualification arrangements between the different jurisdictions.

“Disappointing apprenticeship commencement and completion rates add further to the complex and confusing situation. Industry leadership has been eroded and the pivotal alignment of public expenditure to economic imperative and productivity improvements has been severely diluted. Confidence needs to be restored to the VET system.

“Recent research by Ai Group reveals the growing intensity of skill shortages and skill gaps. Our most recent Workforce Development Needs (2018) survey highlights 75% of employers experiencing difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified or skilled people into vacancies. The occupations most frequently reported in shortage were from the Technicians and Trades Workers occupational group, followed by Professionals, all in STEM fields. Employers listing occupations experiencing skills shortages for the first time included those with skills in business automation, big data and artificial intelligence solutions.

“The unprecedented pipeline of public investment across transport and social infrastructure will place significant pressure on government and industry to respond and also creates the opportunity for a skills legacy. Such a large program of work increases pressures on capability and capacity in both the private and public sectors.

“This infrastructure work is necessary to stimulate our softening economy and lift domestic productivity and amenity but it also carries with it pressures on particular skills which are in high demand because they are the same skills required elsewhere in the economy – such as in the mining sector.

“The state of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia is illustrative of the problems plaguing our training system. We find ourselves dealing with 259,385 in apprentices & trainees in training in 2018 compared with 387,100 a decade ago and a high of 446,000 in 2012. This is the lowest for a decade. This drop in volume can be directly linked to a series of policy adjustments including the removal or reduction of many employer incentives.

“A significant consideration is to address the excessively complex and duplicative Commonwealth and State/Territory roles and responsibilities in the training system. The National Skills Commission is an important first step for all parties to engage with. Commitment to a roadmap for reform should be a key outcome of the current COAG process. A genuinely national training system that meets the needs of economy may finally be possible.

“Commitment to a roadmap for reform should be a key outcome of the current COAG process. A genuinely national training system that meets the needs of economy may finally be possible,” Mr Willox said.

Full text of a letter from Innes Willox to the PM and state and territory leaders is at this link.

/Public Release. View in full here.

COAG Call to action on skills

The Australian Chamber is calling on the country’s political leaders to agree to reform our vital Vocation Education and Training (VET) system, to deliver the skills that Australian jobseekers and businesses need, at tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Cairns.

Prime Minister Morrison has put vocational training back on the agenda following the recent Joyce review of VET that he announced to ACCI’s members late last year.

It comes amid evidence that, despite significant funding growth in all other sectors within education, the amount of funding nationally for VET and the number of government funded VET students has declined over recent years.

Australian Chamber CEO James Pearson said it was important to improve confidence in the system.

“We know how fraught discussions about VET reform have been, and recognise that COAG has attempted on a number of occasions to consider changes that will make a real difference to the support provided to students and industry Now is the time for decisions to be made.”

“Industry stands ready to work with all governments, and we know that the Prime Minister is committed to positive change.

“We have worked closely with Ministers and advisers, and government officials, in the lead up to, and after, the Prime Minister’s announcement of the VET review to our members last November. Our network of state and territory chambers of commerce – the peak business bodies in each COAG jurisdiction – and industry associations is well placed to work with all governments on reforming VET.”

“Given the urgent need to make long lasting positive improvements in VET, we urge COAG to focus first on the end goal. This is likely to be a more fruitful discussion than the more difficult one about who pays for what and what changes are needed to get there.”

The Joyce Review has repeated our call for governments, education and training providers and industry to agree on a shared vision for VET. Successful reform of VET would include:

  • Meeting the labour market skill needs in occupations that rely on vocational training
  • A return to growth in the number of government funded VET students
  • Real funding increases for vocational training in all jurisdictions
  • Improved student employment outcomes
  • Industry more strongly embedded in the advisory and governance arrangements at all levels of the VET system
  • Valuing equally VET and Higher Education and promoting jobs that require VET qualifications to students and parents as good career options
  • Increased support for apprenticeships and traineeships to address skill needs and youth unemployment

“The path to achieving these objectives is challenging; we call on COAG to take the lead from the Prime Minister and move beyond the cost and blame shifting to restore certainty and growth to VET,” Mr Pearson said.

“VET not only prepares young people for work, but also ensures Australia has the skilled workers required to build the infrastructure so badly needed in our regions and cities.

“With more than a year before the next State Election, political leaders have the clear air needed to be decisive. Australia cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by to make meaningful change to vocational training.”

The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy, in every corner of Australia. Our Small Business is a Big Deal campaign gives voice to what small businesses need from the federal government, and our Getting on with Business recommends ways to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.

/Public Release. View in full here.

COAG Call to action on skills

The Australian Chamber is calling on the country’s political leaders to agree to reform our vital Vocation Education and Training (VET) system, to deliver the skills that Australian jobseekers and businesses need, at tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Cairns.

Prime Minister Morrison has put vocational training back on the agenda following the recent Joyce review of VET that he announced to ACCI’s members late last year.

It comes amid evidence that, despite significant funding growth in all other sectors within education, the amount of funding nationally for VET and the number of government funded VET students has declined over recent years.

Australian Chamber CEO James Pearson said it was important to improve confidence in the system.

“We know how fraught discussions about VET reform have been, and recognise that COAG has attempted on a number of occasions to consider changes that will make a real difference to the support provided to students and industry Now is the time for decisions to be made.”

“Industry stands ready to work with all governments, and we know that the Prime Minister is committed to positive change.

“We have worked closely with Ministers and advisers, and government officials, in the lead up to, and after, the Prime Minister’s announcement of the VET review to our members last November. Our network of state and territory chambers of commerce – the peak business bodies in each COAG jurisdiction – and industry associations is well placed to work with all governments on reforming VET.”

“Given the urgent need to make long lasting positive improvements in VET, we urge COAG to focus first on the end goal. This is likely to be a more fruitful discussion than the more difficult one about who pays for what and what changes are needed to get there.”

The Joyce Review has repeated our call for governments, education and training providers and industry to agree on a shared vision for VET. Successful reform of VET would include:

  • Meeting the labour market skill needs in occupations that rely on vocational training
  • A return to growth in the number of government funded VET students
  • Real funding increases for vocational training in all jurisdictions
  • Improved student employment outcomes
  • Industry more strongly embedded in the advisory and governance arrangements at all levels of the VET system
  • Valuing equally VET and Higher Education and promoting jobs that require VET qualifications to students and parents as good career options
  • Increased support for apprenticeships and traineeships to address skill needs and youth unemployment

“The path to achieving these objectives is challenging; we call on COAG to take the lead from the Prime Minister and move beyond the cost and blame shifting to restore certainty and growth to VET,” Mr Pearson said.

“VET not only prepares young people for work, but also ensures Australia has the skilled workers required to build the infrastructure so badly needed in our regions and cities.

“With more than a year before the next State Election, political leaders have the clear air needed to be decisive. Australia cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by to make meaningful change to vocational training.”

The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy, in every corner of Australia. Our Small Business is a Big Deal campaign gives voice to what small businesses need from the federal government, and our Getting on with Business recommends ways to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Palaszczuk Government gets a head start with skills strategy

An independent Queensland Audit Office report has come out in support of the Palaszczuk Government’s Skills for Queensland strategy launched by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman this week.

Acting Minister for Training and Skills Development Mick de Brenni said the report Investing in VET endorses the government’s approach to targeted investment in training.

“Queensland’s investment in vocational education and training (VET) is not only effective, but also efficient,” Mr de Brenni said.

“This is great news and highlights why the Palaszczuk Government continues to invest in training for Queenslanders.

The report says our annual VET investment meets Queensland’s skilling needs in a most cost-effective way and recommends a skills strategy be finalised as the number one priority to ensure Queensland has a skilled workforce for the jobs of the future.

“Just this week the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and I launched our Skills for Queensland strategy, Great training for quality jobs and kicked off our free apprenticeships initiative for anyone under 21,” he said.

“The Skills for Queensland strategy is part of the government’s focus on growing a strong economy that can create jobs, increase private sector investment and engage more young Queenslanders in education, training and work.

“It sets out a clear plan to build on the existing strengths of the skills and training system.”

The Minister said the Skills for Queensland strategy will target critical skills needs, new skills needed for existing jobs, emerging opportunities brought about by technology advances, and regional and statewide priorities.

The initiatives include:

  • A $5.5 million Micro-Credentialing pilot will support employers and their workers to gain the skill sets needed to adapt to workplace changes including new technologies
  • A next generation Higher Level Apprenticeship pilot that will train apprentices in specialty and emerging technical and trade fields
  • Review and Expansion of the Gateway to Industry Schools program so that school students can train in emerging and innovative industries
  • A government-endorsed Skills Assure system for students and employers to have confidence in a quality training experience
  • A new Link and Launch pilot to target youth hot spots and provide seamless access to government programs like the successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work or Back to Work
  • A new Ministerial Roundtable to ensure government hears industry input to skills investment priorities first‑hand
  • New regional jobs committees to bring together local industry groups, training providers, local and major employers, and councils to help plan local training.

The Queensland Audit Office said Queensland has effectively managed the demand-driven VET market, providing students with greater choice whilst maintaining consistent student and employment outcomes.

The report highlights the government’s increased funding for disadvantaged cohorts through the successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work (SQW) initiative, which provides work-ready skills and training to Queenslanders who need it most.

The audit also recognises the important role played by public providers in the VET landscape.

“The report reinforces our continued strong support for public providers including TAFE Queensland and Central Queensland University, through the annual State Contribution Grant,” Mr de Brenni said.

Other Queensland Audit Office recommendations include performance measures and periodic reviews for the State Contribution Grant, improved transparency for the annual VET investment and subsidy lists, streamlined processes for SQW projects and improved efficiency and quality of the pre-qualified supplier contract renewal process.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Canada announces funding for innovative project to help apprentices

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Giving every Canadian a real and fair chance at success means helping them get the skills and training they need to succeed in a changing economy. The skilled trades are good, well-paying, middle-class jobs, and the Government of Canada is committed to supporting key groups, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers and persons with disabilities, to work in the skilled trades through funding for projects led by unions and other organizations.

That is why today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the Government of Canada is providing close to $182,000 to LiUNA Local 607 Training Centre for its project Mobile Training Classroom: Removing Barriers to Train. This project is funded under the Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream of the Union Training and Innovation Program.

The Government is investing $25 million annually in support of the Union Training and Innovation Program through two streams:

  • Stream 1: Investments in Training Equipment Stream
  • Stream 2: Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream

Projects help unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in up-to-date training equipment and materials, and support innovation and enhanced partnerships to address long-standing challenges that limit apprenticeship outcomes in Canada. As a result of this investment, more apprentices will be able to develop their skills, complete their training and find good, well-paying jobs.

As part of this project, LiUNA Local 607 will conduct mobile training to help up to 300 apprentices, including 15% women and 40% Indigenous people, to complete their technical training. LiUNA will build new partnerships with five community organizations and work with Anishnabek Employment and Training Services, Pays Plat First Nation and the Thunder Bay Construction Association to assist with recruitment of participants. By reducing geographic barriers faced by women and Indigenous people in northwestern Ontario communities, the Government is helping more women and Indigenous people find sustainable employment through the skilled trades.

As Canada’s economy continues to grow and create good, well-paying jobs, the Government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians share in and benefit from this success.

Quotes

“Canada’s future success depends on building an economy that is as inclusive as it is innovative. That’s why our government is investing in this project that will help apprentices in Thunder Bay and surrounding communities, and especially those who face additional barriers to participate and succeed in the skilled trades, start exciting and well-paying careers in the trades.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“LiUNA training programs are a fundamental tool to recruit and train the future workforce for contractor partners. The LiUNA Mobile Training Classroom is an innovative, accessible tool which delivers the most extensive training and health and safety courses to ensure LiUNA’s future workforce is safe and job-ready. The Mobile Training Classroom has enhanced and expanded LiUNA’s leading-edge training programs for Indigenous youth, highlighting the importance of accessibility, building upon tools for building a career in the skilled trades through training and education, a mandate signed in LiUNA’s Statement of Partnership with the Assembly of First Nations. The Mobile Training Classroom is an innovative approach to reach a solution in expanding training opportunities for remote Indigenous communities and ensure everyone has the opportunity to access skills training, leading to building a career and better future.”

– Joseph Mancinelli, Vice President and Regional Manager for Central and Eastern Canada, LiUNA

Quick facts

  • The Union Training and Innovation Program provides $25 million annually to support union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships in the Red Seal trades.
  • To further support key groups facing barriers so they can succeed in the skilled trades, the Government of Canada launched the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. This new grant provides $3,000 per year/ level, up to a maximum amount of $6,000, to registered women apprentices who have successfully completed their first or second year/level of an apprenticeship program in eligible Red Seal trades where women are under‑represented.
  • This, in combination with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant valued at $2,000, could result in combined grant support of up to $8,000 to eligible women over the course of their training. Eligible apprentices can apply by visiting Canada.ca/apprenticeship-grants.
  • In addition, the Government implemented two other initiatives to help apprentices succeed:
    • the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program with $46 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, with $10 million per year ongoing, to encourage groups facing barriers to explore careers in the trades, gain work experience, make informed career choices and develop the skills needed for the trades; and
    • the Women in Construction Fund with $10 million over three years, starting in 2018-19, to support projects building on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the trades, such as mentoring, coaching and tailored supports.
  • To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed several new measures in Budget 2019:
    • $40 million over four years in funding for Skills Canada, starting in 2020-21, and $10 million per year ongoing to encourage more young people to consider training and work in the skilled trades;
    • $6 million over two years, starting in 2019-20, to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people;
    • a new Apprenticeship Strategy to ensure that existing supports and programs available to apprentices address the barriers faced by those who want to work in the skilled trades and support employers who face challenges in hiring and retaining apprentices;
    • a lower interest rate on Canada Apprentice Loans starting in 2019-20 and making the first six months after a borrower completes their apprenticeship training interest-free; and
    • the new Canada Training Benefit, which would give workers money to help pay for training, provide income support during training and offer job protection so that workers can take the time they need to keep their skills relevant and in demand.
/Public Release. View in full here.

New risk areas for VET announced in ASQA regulatory strategy

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has released its latest regulatory strategy, setting out the agency’s priorities to 2021.

The strategy is informed by ASQA’s evidence-based approach to identifying and addressing systemic risks to the vocational education and training (VET) sector. The latest update announces continued focus on international education and trainer and assessor capability, and a new focus on VET in Schools.

ASQA Chief Commissioner and CEO, Mark Paterson AO, said the new strategy advises how regulatory activity will remain focused on responding to the most significant risks in a sector largely made up of quality providers.

“ASQA’s risk-based approach to regulation allows us to target efforts to address serious non-compliances that risk damaging the reputation of our world-class VET sector,” Mr Paterson explained.

“All of ASQA’s regulatory activity, including audits, investigations and reviews of specific training areas or products is carried out in response to evidence of risk-ASQA does not conduct regulatory activity unless we have determined a compelling threat to quality.

“Our latest regulatory strategy informs providers and the broader VET community of where we are seeing concentrated evidence of risk to our sector, and where we will subsequently apply greater regulatory focus.”

Concerns about VET courses delivered in secondary schools have been raised in recent research reports and reviews but there has not yet been national scrutiny of this area. ASQA will conduct a study and consult with other government agencies to better understand the risks to VET in schools, and determine if further action is required.

Work will continue to monitor the capacity of trainers and assessors, and implement recommendations of ASQA’s recent strategic review into international education. The strategy also sets out the second phase of the ‘Recognising and supporting quality initiative’, which seeks to improve how quality VET delivery is recognised and support providers through enhanced engagement and advice.

There are five products of concern listed for close scrutiny resulting from emerging data indicating potential issues:

  • CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support
  • CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry
  • BSB50215 Diploma of Business.
/Public Release. View in full here.

Overseas students choose Australia for quality VET

A growing number of overseas students are coming to Australia for vocational education and training (VET) and the national regulator is committed to ensuring quality learning experiences.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) report on its strategic review into international education finds that overseas students have good experiences studying in Australia, however work is needed to ensure this continues to be the case.

ASQA’s Chief Commissioner and CEO, Mark Paterson AO, said strong demand from overseas students has seen an increase in the number of registered providers delivering VET courses to overseas students and offering English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), or delivering training offshore.

“Our latest report is a comprehensive response to risks identified in Australia’s international VET and English language education markets,” Mr Paterson explained.

“We have found that a very high number of overseas students are satisfied with their experience gaining qualifications in Australia, so we can be confident that the majority of providers are delivering quality training.

“However more work is needed to make sure providers meet their obligations, and to ensure we have the right data to monitor activity and eliminate poor behaviour.

“We are committed to working in partnership with other government and industry bodies and the regulated community to address the complex and dynamic issues facing this growing sector.”

The report contains evidence that some VET providers are not meeting their obligations to ensure overseas students receive accurate information about their courses, meet the prerequisites for courses and participate in a minimum of 20 contact hours per week. It warns that providers failing to meet these obligations can cause significant harm to overseas students, undermine the community’s confidence in the VET sector and the student visa program, and impact providers that deliver quality VET courses.

The report’s recommendations include amending the National Code to make it explicit that overseas students are required to attend courses on a full-time basis, strengthening collaboration across agencies to ensure consistent access to data and intelligence and ensuring offshore students have the same protections as students in Australia.

ASQA will publish clear information for providers about expectations for delivering training to overseas students and continue work to identify and take action against providers not complying with their obligations.

The findings of the report will inform ASQA’s ongoing risk-based regulatory focus.

The full report, Protecting the quality of international VET and English language education, is available via the link below:

/Public Release. View in full here.

Further falls in VET funding reinforces urgent need to prioritise reform

Today’s release of a report on Government-funded vocational training by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) showing a further decline in investment, reinforces the urgency of action to prioritise reform of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said today

“The NCVER report reflects the importance for all Governments – Federal, State, and Territory – to focus attention on Vocational Education and Training (VET),” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said today.

“In 2018, 1.1 million students were enrolled in government-funded VET, a decrease of 1.9% compared to 2017. Student enrolments also decreased by 5.7% during the same period, reflecting a drop in both Federal, State and Territory government funding commitment for VET. This underlines the urgency of VET reform.

“Prime Minister Morrison is a champion of skills reform, and we welcome the efforts of the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, to promote vocational training around the country as an equal option to higher education for school leavers.

“The announcements in the Federal Budget to implement a National Skills Commission and provide extra funding to apprenticeships, along with other measures, will help to shift the dial.

“The medium to long term objective, to raise VET government funding and deliver high-quality outcomes can only be achieved through all Governments working cooperatively through COAG, and with industry, to achieve genuine reform and funding growth.

“Business and government need to work together with schools, career advisers and training providers to encourage students to choose VET as a career pathway.

“As a community, we owe our young people, as well as those retraining later in life for new jobs, the best chances and choices for the best careers.”

The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy, in every corner of Australia. Our Small Business is a Big Deal campaign gives voice to what small businesses need from the federal government, and our Getting on with Business recommends ways to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.

/Public Release. View in full here.