Reforming the VET system
The Expert Review of Vocational Education and Training led by former New Zealand Minister, Steven Joyce, asked contributors to identify:
- what’s working well in the sector
- what the key challenges are
- what changes need to be made to the sector, and
- to identify how VET can help Australians prepare for the future workforce.
Claire Field & Associates 2019 VET review submission
Claire Field’s & Associates’ submission to the Review is available for download below.
Six key challenges facing the VET sector
In summary, Claire Field & Associates identified six key challenges facing the VET sector:
- The amount of change providers have to manage – as governments at both the state and national level constantly introduce new policies. Using data from the NCVER I calculated that in the last 20 years the VET sector has been subject to 421 policy reforms. If you’re a national RTO that means a change to your operating environment every 2.5 weeks for the last two decades. This is clearly unsustainable.
- Two in every three VET graduates works in a different occupation from the one they trained in, and two out of every five Australians work in a job at a level either above or below the qualification they hold.
- There are 1,352 occupations in the Australian economy – but the VET sector offers 3,701 different qualifications, skill sets and accredited courses.
- Half of all enrolments are in just 50 qualifications. That is equivalent to just 3% of all VET qualifications on offer.
- There is no national consistency between qualifications at the same AQF level. For example, the Diploma of Business comprises only eight units of competency (all electives) whereas the Diploma of Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering comprises 33 core units (plus electives). And when you examine the content of the units, those in the Business Diploma seem less complex than those in the Air-conditioning Diploma.
- If the VET sector continues to operate in its current state then employers will increasingly look to the non-accredited sector for their workplace training needs. Research by HolonIQ finds that globally the formal education sector is ‘grossly under-digitized‘ and not expected to change significantly by 2025. By contrast the non-accredited sector is expected to double its spending on education technology in the same period, driven in large part by artificial intelligence (AI) which is expected to grow to $341 billion.
Claire Field & Associates recommendations
Against this backdrop, we can only hope that the Review identifies a set of sensible policy solutions which:
- reduce complexity in the VET sector, and
- which are enduring.